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Solar-powered cars to race 2,500 miles

From Austin to Calgary

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At least 27 teams have signed up to take part in the 2005 North American Solar Challenge race, which begins this Sunday, 17 July. The race will cross the border between the US and Canada, the first time a solar race has gone international, and will cover 2,500 miles, 100 miles more than either the 2001 or 2003 events.

Kansas State University follows Route 66 through the Mojave Desert in California

The race follows U.S. Route 75 from Austin, Texas and the Trans-Canada Highway (Highway 1), with checkpoints throughout the route to the finish line in Calgary.

The rules are simple: the cars must be powered only by the sun, and they must obey local speed limits. But given that they can travel at up to 80 miles-per-hour, and it is supposed to be a race not a convoy, we suspect a little bending of the rules might go on, on that count. Most cars only carry the driver, but the race organisers say that this year, several of the cars will have two people on board.

The race is funded by the US Department of Energy, nominally in a bid to "enhance national security", by promoting research into renewable energy.

Check out some of the team's sites from the link on this page. ®

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