Friends of the Rouge Watershed Logo

U of T Solar Car

Top: U of T engineering students explain the
technical aspects of the vehicle to FRW
staff and volunteers. Middle: Getting ready
to drive. Bottom: Blue Sky is very light.

As part of the FRW Clean Air project, the University of Toronto brought their Blue Sky Solar Car and two engineering students to an FRW restoration planting site at the Beare Road. After planting trees and going on a hike, cub scouts, parent volunteers and FRW staff were given the pleasure of viewing the Blue Sky Solar Racing Car.

The U of T engineering students explained the technical aspects of the vehicle to the scouts and scout leaders and answered all and any questions from curious the tree planters. The U of T Solar Car is an excellent opportunity to showcase Solar Energy.

Although historically, the Solar Car and the Solar Car race itself are not focused on improving the efficiency of solar cells and promoting alternative energy, the Solar Car itself is a great way to get people young and old interested and excited about Solar Energy technology.

About the University of Toronto's Solar Project

The University of Toronto Blue Sky Solar Racing is the largest undergraduate design project at the University. There are over 120 students from all fields of study working on the project.

Our Cars:

Since our first year in 1996, we have completed two solar-powered cars and are hard at work designing a third generation vehicle.

The Blue Sky Project, was the first car, it featured an aluminum space-frame chassis with a composite shell. The car participated in the 1997 Florida Sunday Challenge and finished in 3rd place.

From the experience gained from our first car, the team set out to construct a new one, Blue II. Blue II became the teamís first car to compete in the North American intercollegiate race known as Sunrayce 99. The race was held from June 20 to the 29, and went from Washington D.C. to Orlando, Florida. The University of Toronto Blue Sky Solar Racing team was honored by receiving the Sunrayce 99 #1 Rookie Team Award.

The Technology:

Solar cars are excellent platforms for developing the technology for the automobile of the future. Advances in power management, efficiency and aerodynamics will be invaluable in developing other technologies to meet the goal of environmentally friendly transportation including electric vehicles, hybrids, and fuel cell-powered vehicles.

The Solar Cells:

The shell is covered with eight square meters of solar cells. These convert the sunlight to electricity to power the motor or charge the batteries. The cells we use have an efficiency of 14%.

The Shell:

The aerodynamic shell allows the vehicle to move cleanly through the air, minimizing drag. The carís shell is modeled using high-end computer workstations and built with composite materials to produce a light-weight, aerodynamic surface.

The Mechanical Systems:

The chassis and suspension are designed for minimum weight and maximum efficiency providing robustness and safety.

The Battery/Power System:

The battery system allows the solar energy to be saved for cloudy days or when the terrain demands extra power. The carís power system includes an advanced telemetry system to allow improved strategic planning.

The Motor:

The motor, which propels the car to speeds in excess of 120 km/h, is an in-hub DC brushless motor with a 95% peak efficiency. The in-hub design eliminates the need for a less efficient transmission system.

Contact Information:

Blue Sky Solar Racing
c/o Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering
University of Toronto
35 St. George Street, Room 173
Toronto, ON, Canada
M5S 1A4

Phone: (416) 978-2820
Fax: (416) 978-1245