MCMASTER SOLAR CAR PROJECT

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MCMASTER SOLAR CAR PROJECT

WATCH THE VIDEO
MCMASTER SOLAR CAR PROJECT

We are a multidisciplinary project that was founded in the beginning of 1997 and has accumulated well over 2000 student signups to date. The McMaster Solar Car Project is one of the few teams that are completely run by undergraduate students. The three primary goals of the project are to build and race solar vehicles, provide training and workshops to the McMaster student body covering basic and intensive technical skills that are not offered in any university class, and finally, promote the use of sustainable energy systems to the local and global community through outreach events.

The Team

Collin Brown

Finance and Media Manager

Jonathan Diller

Project Manager

Edmund Lam

Electrical Co-Manager

Andy Li

Electrical Co-Manager

Mhamad Salih

Technical Advisor

Shen Zhang

Suspension

Alumni

Brandon Youmans

Former Mechanical Team
Co-Manager

Adam Trela

Former Mechanical Team
Co-Manager

Mike Bot

Former Electrical Team
Co-Manager

David Drake

Former Project Manager

James Strack

Technical Advisor

The Team

Collin Brown

Finance and Media Manager

Jonathan Diller

Project Manager

Edmund Lam

Electrical Co-Manager

Andy Li

Electrical Co-Manager

Mhamad Salih

Technical Advisor

Shen Zhang

Suspension

Alumni

Brandon Youmans

Former Mechanical Team
Co-Manager

Adam Trela

Former Mechanical Team
Co-Manager

Mike Bot

Former Electrical Team
Co-Manager

David Drake

Former Project Manager

James Strack

Technical Advisor

MEET SPITFIRE

Throughout many years, we've made various solar powered cars. These include Fireball, Fireball II, Phoenix, and Phoenix II. Our latest creation is Spitfire. Spitfire is powered by over 300 22.3% efficent solar cells which output a maximum of 1400 watts. Combined with our proprietary lithium ion battery cell, we have created a solar powered car that can drive at a maximum speed of over 80km/h. See below to find out more about the car and its various parts that come together to form a solar car that has been rated second in Canada.

Solar Panels
The array is composed of 391 C60 solar cells from SunPower (22.3% efficient), giving an output of approximately 1400 W in full sunlight. The cells are made of single crystal silicon and feature an all back- contact design to improve efficiency and make them easier to connect together. Each module of cells will be encapsulated in-house and connected underneath the aeroshell. Spitfire also implements four peak power trackers to maximize the power output from the solar array. A peak power tracker is a specialized circuit which maximizes power transfer from the solar cells based on changing sunlight conditions.

Battery
The battery pack is composed of a proprietary, military grade, lithium ion cells provided by Boston Power. There will be a total 210 cells in a configuration that produces a nominal voltage of 111 VDC and discharge current of 90 Amps. The total pack can store up to roughly 4.2 kWh of energy, a 10% kWh upgrade from our existing battery design. All the cells will weight just under 19.5 kg, and less than 23 kg for the entire battery pack. All the cell's voltages, temperatures and total pack current will be measured and processed by the battery management system, providing the team with an active protection system. The battery management system will feature non-contact hall-effect for current measurement, as well as a total voltage and temperature sample time of less than 220 microseconds. The output of the battery pack will also contain a class T fast acting 125A fuse as a passive protection method as a second degree of protection.

Body
Spitfire's body is constructed out of Kevlar - a synthetic fiber of high tensile strength. Kevlar is infused under a vacuum with resin to create the rigid structure of the aeroshell and bellypan. Carbon fibre ribs are used to support the aeroshell, providing rigidity and preventing bending under the shell's own weight.

Chassis
Spitfire's chassis is constructed out of 6061 T6, 1.5" square aluminum tube. The general structure is designed such that it only carries the driver and battery pack, and contains mounting points for the suspension and trailing arm. Finite element analysis was conducted to ensure safe operation of the chassis during collisions of up to 5Gs from different angles as required by regulations. The current chassis is the 7th design iteration and passes all safety tests with a high degree of success.

Suspension
The front suspension is made of a Double wishbone constructed of tubular steel with inboard dampening units, and custom designed upright and spindle, CNC'd out of 6061 grade T6 aluminum. The rear wheel uses a trailing arm style and mounts directly to the brushless DC motor, which then directly couples to the rear wheel.

Telemetry
Spitfire is equipped with a custom built telemetry circuit which transmits vehicle data including speed, battery charge level, solar array power production, power draw and much more real-time data to the team's race strategists. This allows the team to develop a winning strategy while monitoring the performance of the car.

Wheels
TThe wheels are custom designed and CNC'd out of high grade 6061 T6 aluminum, alloyed with silicon and manganese. FEA were conducted to achieve minimum weight to strength ratio while CFD was used to minimize tangential turbulent drag caused by the rotating wheel.

Driver
The steering wheel contains a 3.1" OLED RGB display. This dynamic display system allows the team to troubleshoot the vehicle's entire electrical system from the driver's cockpit. This speeds up the troubleshooting process since the electrical team no longer has to switch back and forth between a laptop and the vehicle during the testing period.

Motor
Spitfire uses a M2096-II motor produced by Mitsuba. This 97% efficient brushless DC motor will allow the car to reach highway speeds while using the equivalent electric power of a hair dryer. The motor also comes equipped with regenerative braking, which slows down the car by using the motor as a generator and charging the battery pack.

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