ABOUT THIS PROJECT
Tell us briefly about your project. Is it a work of art or does it serve another
Xenith represents the marriage between art and functionality. With its sleek design and 98% efficient motor, Xenith represents how solar technology may be more integrated into our lives while looking good.
When did you start working on this project and how long did it take you to complete?
Xenith is the 10th car in the Stanford Solar Car Project’s 23 year history. We started working on the project in the fall of 2009, planning our design before finally completing it in spring 2011.
What was your goal in building this project?
Through Xenith, Stanford students with a broad range of experiences are able to come together build an energy-efficient car. As we are entirely student-run, we are given the chance to independently teach and learn from each other, fostering innovative engineers who are able to apply the theory from the classroom appear in a tangible fashion.
Does your project help to solve a problem? If so what problem?
Our car works to examine the feasibility of solar technology as an option to reduce fossil fuel dependence. By building a race car, we are able to look at how the sun’s light can be harnessed to create powerful, fast and efficient vehicles in the future.
What makes your idea unique?
Our latest car, Xenith, was the first vehicle in solar car racing to use ultra-thin glass in the encapsulation of solar cells. This new method allowed for increased resistance to UV damage and efficiency equal to our bare world record efficiency monocrystalline silicon cells from Sunpower. Throughout the development of our car we strived to create novel designs and to find innovative applications of advanced technologies. Our unique suspension system allows all three wheels of our car to steer, allowing for reduced aerodynamic drag. Information for the drivers is integrated into a helmet mounted heads-up-display over the driver's right eye. Our battery pack gives our car a 200 mile range with no sunlight. With our telemetry system, any computer, iPhone, or other WiFi enabled device can monitor real-time performance data from the car. Every aspect of Xenith's design showcases the ingenuity of Stanford student engineers.
In what capacity are you using bearings and what type of bearings?
Xenith’s drive train comprises a single hub motor in the rear wheel, and the car has two front wheels used solely for steering. Bearings are required to allow the wheels and motor to rotate under load without damage. While some friction in bearings is inevitable, it should be as small an amount as possible.. We use SKF Energy Efficient (E2) bearings for our wheels and motor in order to safely hold Xenith and its driver while minimizing the energy losses resulting from rolling resistance.
What is the most important thing you want people to know about your project?
Fossil fuels are only one of the many ways to power human civilization. We hope that our car, powered through sunlight alone, helps people understand the potential of the sun to contribute in generating sustainable energy for the world.
How will you use the $5,000 prize?
The $10,000 prize will be used to fund our next car, which will race in the 2013 World Solar Challenge.