Students build Solar Car that will travel across Chile

Mario HonrubiaSustainabilityEnergy

The Solar Car of the University of Chile, the Eolian Fénix, is traveling in this moment from Santiago to Arica city, which is equal to a distance of 2,040 kilometers. The expedition will take about one week since they travel 300 kilometers daily at a speed around 60 to 70 km/h. As it's expected, the goal of this project, which happens every year since 2007, is to demonstrate that it's possible to travel using only solar energy. In order to do that, they have implemented an external solar charger that stores the energy received by some additional cells added to the cowling of the vehicle.

The Solar Car Eolian Fénix

The University of Chile has been developing new versions of this solar car for a whole decade. It's a project that has managed to connect two complementary departments of the institution: FCFM (Physics and Mathematics Department) and FAU (Architecture and Urbanism Department). Through this daily challenge, they keep many students motivated on the innovation and their careers.

The Eolian Fénix is today the first solar vehicle in Latinamerica in the two-seater category and it will be driven by four people during the journey. Over 30 people have worked on the solar car, and 16 of them are participating of the expedition to Arica and, if they reach their goal, it will become the first solar car in Chile that is able to travel such a long distance without the help of any dragging car.

The Challenge Arica - Santiago

This is the first year that the Eolian faces a route of this magnitude. The Arica-Santiago challenge is a global one and everybody takes pride in participating. According to Luis Vargas, director of the Department of Electric Engineering (DIE) of FCFM "This journey is important, because it connects us with the rest of the provinces and regions of the country, which can witness the tour of the vehicle that carries the effort of teachers and students of this University, who seek to create and progress while being environmentally friendly". What would you suggest to the Eolian team to improve for the following years? Would you like to participate in an engineering challenge like this? Photo and video by Universidad de Chile Join our engineering community here