Calling any vehicle Eleanor is a bit cheeky, considering that it evokes the image of brawny Ford Mustangs made famous in the movie "Gone in 60 Seconds." In this case, it may even be ironic, since the car the MIT Solar Electric Vehicle Team is referring to is solar-powered, rides on three wheels, and tops out at 90 mph.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology's latest competitor in the upcoming 10th World Solar Challenge couldn't be more different than its namesake. Its Eleanor is low slung, highly aerodynamic, and covered by 6 square meters of silicon solar cells that generate 1,200 watts of electricity. Onboard the car is a 6kWh lithium ion battery pack that stores enough power to travel from New York to Boston without the sun, or about 250 miles at around 55 mph.
But on a sunny day, the solar car can run nonstop at a cruising speed of 55 mph, and calculations show that it can reach 90 mph. … Read more