Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Yvo de Boer, greets journalists as he arrives in a solar taxi to the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Poznan, Poland, Thursday, Dec 4, 2008. The solar vehicle, built by Louis Palmer from Switzerland with the help of Swiss scientists and driven by Palmer has traveled around the world setting a world record of 52,000 km, or 32,300 miles through 38 countries using only solar energy. (AP Photo/Alik Keplicz)
TOPEKA – The future of automotive engineering and science technology will be here sooner than expected as Topeka is an official stop for the American Solar Challenge race on June 21st. The American Solar Challenge is a competition to design, build and race solar cars. The program includes universities from around the world and pairs teams of students with local engineers to complete the challenge.
Arriving throughout the morning, Monday, June 21, the cars will be on display in the east parking lot of the Ramada Convention Center by noon. The public is invited to come see the cars and chat with the teams from noon to 8 p.m. There will also be several booth displays from businesses or organizations with energy conservation interests. The teams will partially disassemble the cars at 6 p.m. to help them charge. A small awards ceremony will be held at 8 p.m. for the cars that have made it to the first stage stop of the race. The teams will leave at 9 a.m. Tuesday.
The 1,200 mile race begins June 20 in Broken Arrow, Okla., and ends June 26 in Naperville, Ill. Topeka is the only Kansas stop on the tour, which marks 20 years of organized solar events in America. Approximately 350 people are traveling with the competition as each of the 16 cars will have drivers, teams and fans.
According to the American Solar Challenge website, the organization promotes a greater understanding of solar energy technology, educational excellence in science, engineering and mathematics, and an hands-on opportunity for students and engineers to develop their technical and creative abilities. A full race schedule is available at http://americansolarchallenge.org/events/asc2010/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/ASCRaceStopDetails1.pdf