The Eclipse solar car pushes the boundaries of engineering
FÉRIQUE Fund Management is delighted to renew its partnership with the dynamic Eclipse team. In addition to helping the team bring this highly ambitious project to fruition, FÉRIQUE is encouraging the efforts of dedicated and passionate engineers of the future.
A common goal
The students who make up the Eclipse team come from various engineering programs: electrical, mechanical, construction and software. They’ve pooled their expertise to design and build a high-performance solar car. But what exactly does their project consist of? “Our goal is to build an electric car that runs on solar energy and is fully independent from the usual charging networks,” explained Renaud Dubé, who heads the mechanical department of the Eclipse solar car student club.
The teammates have encountered setbacks, especially during the pandemic, which has made communication more complex, but have found creative solutions to ensure they can progress. “We have to be highly organized and more productive because we have limited access to the fabrication shop,” Mr. Dubé said.
The initial incarnation of the vehicle, which is recharged by solar panels and stores the collected energy in a battery, goes back to 1992. “It was Quebec’s very first solar-powered car,” Mr. Dubé recalled. Since then, many technological changes have been made to constantly improve the car’s design and performance. For example, the car can now reach a speed of 130 kilometres an hour, it has a drag force one-eighth that of a Tesla Model S and it consumes about as much energy as a hair dryer!
The Eclipse team has also distinguished itself in major international competitions. “For example, we placed third at the American Solar Challenge in 2018. Last year, we took part in the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge, the world’s premier solar car race, held in Australia, where we placed ninth over all and had the second-best North American team,” Mr. Dubé proudly recounted.
A winning partnership
The students volunteer many hours of work to achieve such results but would not be able to carry out their project without financial support from partners such as FÉRIQUE Fund Management. “Building a solar car is extremely expensive,” Mr. Dubé explained. It entails fabricating and machining parts, as well as purchasing electrical and mechanical components in addition to tools – costs that quickly add up, creating the need for partnerships with businesses that share the same concerns about environmental protection.
For more information on the Eclipse solar car, visit the project website.