Luminos was the fastest and most successful car in the SSCP’s 24 year history, placing 4th overall in the 2013 World Solar Challenge. Nearly two years of planning, design, fundraising, logistics, building, testing, and dedication have came together to produce what was the best characterized and most thoroughly tested vehicle in our project’s history. We challenged ourselves to go back to the drawing board and build a car that was based on sound engineering theory and principles, beautifully straightforward in design and construction, and tested to be the most reliable and efficient vehicle in the history of our team.
The vehicle housed several major innovations under its smoothy understated exterior. For the first time in the history of SSCP, we designed and constructed our own drive motors – one on each front wheel. These motors have a high 98% efficiency while allowing for a significantly superior mechanical design.
Our array was once again designed and encapsulated by members of our own team. It used monocrystalline silicon solar cells from Sunpower that had one of the highest production conversion efficiencies available in the world at the time, as well as a 3M-designed antireflective layer that also provided excellent aerodynamic properties.
The aerodynamic design of the car achieved a lower tested drag value than many cars that competed under the old, less restrictive rules, and in fact closely rivaled the optimum wind tunnel performance of the previous car, Xenith, while being significantly more robust to messy real-world conditions. Finally, our team’s excellent skills in electrical and software design produced our most efficient, durable, and reliable electrical system to date.