EDWARDSVILLE - Southern Illinois University Edwardsville has secured the prime viewing spot and layover for the seven-state Electrek American Solar Challenge 2024. In July, up to twenty solar vehicles in an endurance rally, will travel more than 1500 miles along portions of seven national history trails, from Bowling Green, Ky. to Casper, Wyo. When the route winds through Edwardsville, drivers and their teams will pull over to recharge at SIUE on Sunday, July 21, from 5-8 p.m. for an afternoon community festival with music, food vendors, games and family fun.

“To have our students participate in the development of green technology and the future of renewable energy is exciting,” said Chancellor James T. Minor, PhD. “SIUE will stand alongside other colleges and universities as part of the learning community where these advancements are already happening.”

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Visitors to the solar car showcase and promenade on Lot E on the grounds of SIUE’s School of Engineering (SOE) will have the opportunity to meet the drivers, speak with engineering teams and experience up close the design and build of vehicles fueled by the sun.

“SIUE School of Engineering Solar Car Team has been a steady participant in the American Solar Challenge. We are thrilled to be one of the stops in this year’s road event,” said Cem Karacal, PhD, and dean of the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville School of Engineering. “The challenge will give teams a chance to learn from each other’s experiences, and allow the communities in our region to learn about solar cars that are powered by innovation, and driven by the sun. The underlying technology could very well become the future of transportation.”

The public viewing schedule includes the following:

Sunday, July 21

10:45 a.m.-6 p.m. - Solar cars arrive in the order of lead, solar car, chase caravan and an official time in is taken

  • Public is welcome to cheer on the solar cars as they arrive!
  • Teams with extra energy will have the opportunity to drive optional challenge loops to Hamel, IL and back, to further demonstrate the capabilities of their solar cars.

5 p.m. - Public meet and greet

  • Cue the DJ! Music by DJ Phat Mixx, food and games on Lot E
  • The National Park Service will host a traveling exhibit and interpreters will be available throughout the afternoon

8:15 p.m. - Winner’s Circle presentation, local contest is included

Overnight – Vehicle maintenance and rest

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Solar car arrival may be delayed due to weather, traffic, or other issues encountered en route.

Monday, July 22

7 a.m. - Public viewing before the cars depart

  • Photo opportunity of the individual cars

8:45 - All vehicles line up in their starting grid position

  • Photo opportunity of the cars lined up

9 a.m. - Raise those flags and cheer, they’re off!

Solar cars will be released in 1-minute intervals.

This event, just two miles west of Route 66, is being promoted in partnership with the City of Edwardsville. Visit the information page on ASC at SIUE, siue.edu/solar.

Electrek American Solar Challenge 2024
The American Solar Challenge is a competition to design, build, and drive solar-powered cars in a cross-country time/distance rally event. Teams compete over a 1,500-2,000 mile course between multiple cities across the country. The event has had over two decades of organized events in North America.

The Formula Sun Grand Prix is a track event that is held on grand prix or road style closed courses. This unique style of competition truly test the limits of solar cars in handling curves, braking, and acceleration. Strategy applied during these three-day events is different than what is applied on the cross-country event.

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville provides students with a high-quality education that powerfully transforms the lives of all individuals who seek something greater. A premier metropolitan university, SIUE is creating social and economic mobility for individuals while also powering the workforce of the future. Built on the foundation of a broad-based liberal education, and enhanced by hands-on research and real-world experiences, the academic preparation SIUE students receive equips them to thrive in the global marketplace and make our communities better places to live. Situated on 2,660 acres of beautiful woodland atop the bluffs overlooking the natural beauty of the Mississippi River’s rich bottomland and only a short drive from downtown St. Louis, the SIUE campus is home to a diverse student body of more than 12,500.

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