Solar Vehicle Team prepares for international collegiate races at NCCAR

BOONE—While many students were coming back from spring break on Saturday, March 12, Appalachian State's Solar Vehicle Team (SVT) was returning from a nearly sleepless three days of testing at North Carolina Center for Automotive Research (NCCAR).

NCCAR is a premier automotive testing facility located in Garysburg. Individuals, race teams and automotive companies use the 620 acres of trails and testing areas to push operational limits of both vehicles and drivers. Sam True, owner of NCCAR, graciously hosted vehicle testing for the SVT along with a few high school electric vehicle teams.

Our team arrived on Thursday afternoon and worked tirelessly through Saturday morning testing the dynamics, telemetry systems and electrical systems. The goal of the tests was to ensure reliability for the Formula Sun Grand Prix (FSGP) and American Solar Challenge (ASC), two international collegiate competitions the Solar Vehicle Team will attend this summer. The drivers tested the turning radius, slalom and braking capabilities, vehicle egress and more, and the vehicle passed every test with flying colors.

In addition to testing the vehicle, the team and advisers spent time talking with the high school teams. "It's a great opportunity to share more about our program and App State," said Dr. Jeremy Ferrell, assistant professor in the Department of Sustainable Technology and the Built Environment in the College of Fine and Applied Arts. "These students have interests that align with our major, and making sure they know the university is a good fit for their interests and skills is something we like to do."

The FSGP is a track race held in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania where teams complete as many laps as possible in three days. This race serves as a qualifier for the ASC, an eight-day road race stretching more than 1800 miles from eastern Ohio to South Dakota. The team will compete against 27 different colleges and universities from around the world and has high hopes for a strong finish this summer.

Sponsored by both the Department of Sustainable Technology and the Built Environment and the Department of Physics and Astronomy, the Solar Vehicle Team is an interdisciplinary group of students working toward a common goal. The team started in 2013 with a solar-powered golf cart and a passion for sustainability and racing. Now, they are preparing to compete against a field of established teams, including those who have competed for more than twenty-five years. The SVT continues to maintain Appalachian State's commitment to sustainability by attending outreach events and teaching about green transportation. For more information, or if you would like to support our SVT, visit

Solar Vehicle Team
Published: Apr 15, 2016 8:38am