University of Calgary

Hitting the road

UToday HomeMay 1, 2012

By Jennifer Sowa

Members of the University of Calgary Solar Team with the Schulich Axiom after completing the 2011 World Solar Challenge in Australia. Photo courtesy University of Calgary Solar TeamMembers of the University of Calgary Solar Team with the Schulich Axiom after completing the 2011 World Solar Challenge in Australia. Photo courtesy University of Calgary Solar TeamOn April 30, the University of Calgary’s solar car hit the highway in Alberta for the first time since the World Solar Challenge in Australia last October. The Schulich Axiom, designed and built by students, finished as the top Canadian car and 19 among cars from around the world.

This week, members of the University of Calgary Solar Team are visiting communities and schools in the province as part of their third annual tour of Alberta. The trip is a chance to test the vehicle on the open road and educate Albertans about alternative energy sources such as solar power.

“We regularly visit elementary, junior high and high schools in Calgary and this tour allows us to reach many other schools in the province,” explains Jodi Bengtson, communications manager and race team member of the University of Calgary Solar Team. “It’s very rewarding to answer questions from students and to watch their faces when they see our solar car for the first time. We hope this gives them a spark of inspiration to think about what they can do to be more environmentally friendly.”

The team will visit schools in Big Valley, Sherwood Park, Barrhead, Fox Creek, Sylvan Lake, Sundre and Turner Valley.

Team members hope to inspire young people to take on projects like the one at Fox Creek School, where students have converted a 1974 Volkswagen Beetle into an electric car using solar power. During the visit to the school, members of the University of Calgary Solar Team will meet the Fox Creek School students and even put the Beetle to the test alongside the Axiom.

“We’re charged up and ready to show Schulich Axiom to Albertans and to inspire school kids to think big about sustainability.” says solar car driver Susanna Kubik. “I’m looking forward to getting the solar car out on the open road!”

Get regular updates and a map of the 2012 Schulich Axiom Alberta Tour route at www.calgarysolarteam.ca.