WMU News

Sunseeker passes 1,400-mile mark in solar race

July 21, 2001

Sunseeker Web site

MORIARITY, N.M. -- The WMU Sunseeker 295 team called it a day in Moriarity, N.M., at the end of Day Six (Friday, July 20) of the American Solar Challenge.

ASC official standings at the end of the day put the WMU team in 24th place. Weather conditions for the race remained sunny for most of the day, but clouds were gathering late in the afternoon when the team decided to stop in Moriarity, which is about 40 miles east of Albuquerque, N.M. The team has now completed more than 1,400 miles of the 2,300-mile ASC trek.

Driver Marissa Melchior was at the wheel for the top-of-the-day drive from Amarillo, Texas, to the ASC checkpoint at Mesa Community College in Tucumcari, N.M., a distance of 110 miles. As a result of a bearing change in the drive train that the team completed on the car overnight, Sunseeker was able to reach peak efficiency at about 8 mph higher than in previous days.

After a charging stop in Tucumcari, the team again opted to trailer the car to the next checkpoint. After spending the night in Moriarity, Sunseeker will be trailered the rest of the way to the Albuquerque checkpoint at the University of New Mexico.

Roger Anthony is expected to take the driver's seat at that point and the drive to the next checkpoint in Gallup, N.M. is expected to take about five hours. With a full charge in the battery, no stopping is planned. From then on, the team plans to drive the car the rest of the way to Claremont, Calif.

"We hit some big hills today," says Abe Poot, a laboratory supervisor in the WMU Department of Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering and Sunseeker's electrical team staff advisor. "We're at more than 6,000 feet above sea level, nearly the highest elevation we'll encounter. It will be all downhill from here."

For daily updates during the race, go to the Web sites for WMU News, WMU Sunseeker or the American Solar Challenge.

Media contact: Cheryl Roland, 616 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

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