Whether you are a current member on a solar car team, an alumni of a team, or just interested in solar car racing, you've probably heard some details about the upcoming 2018 American Solar Challenge race route.
The race will begin in Omaha, Nebraska and finish ~1,780 miles (2,864 meters) later in Bend, Oregon, somewhat following the Oregon Trail.
The route was chosen by ASC officials in-part due to the drier climate that these western states provide, since most of the 2016 American Solar Challenge was troubled with rain and clouds.
This route will take us through some stunning scenery, but will not be an easy race.
With the new regulations, solar cars are limited to four square meters of silicon array. That's two square meters less than the 2016 American Solar Challenge. Teams are allowed to use a supplementary array (up to 2 extra square meters of silicon), this is only during the charging events, not while driving.
However, the largest challenge in this route has been dubbed "The Big Climb" as teams will have to push their cars to the limits as an elevation change of ~3,000 feet (~915 meters) happens in about 30 miles (~48 kilometers) during the start of the third stage.
As for the entire race, the chart below shows the total elevation change from Omaha to Bend, which is around 3,280 feet (~1,000 meters).
For mileage, teams are looking at:
And finally, a complete map of the 2018 American Solar Challenge race route:
For our team, we are very excited to return to the American Solar Challenge after our 4th place finish in 2016. Our new car Independence, which gets its name from the city in Missouri where the Oregon Trail begins, is rapidly approaching completion.
We look forward to seeing other teams at FSGP and ASC 2018, for what is sure to be an exciting race!
You can download the route GPS data here.