Solar Cars: NRCan and Canadian universities gear up for challenge

07/15/05

This release is also available in French



OTTAWA -- For the first time ever, a North American solar-car race will cross an international border. With support from the Government of Canada, competitors from across Canada and the United States will compete in the world's longest solar race. The North American Solar Challenge (NASC), co-sponsored by Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), includes five Canadian university teams.

The Canadian teams will be among more than 30 teams competing to design, build and race the fastest solar-powered cars in North America in a 4,023-kilometre race. The race will begin in Austin, Texas, on July 17, with competitors starting off on U.S. Highway 75, and end in Calgary, Alberta, on July 27, on the Trans-Canada Highway (Highway 1).

Jean-Michel Roy, Canadian Consul-General for Texas, was on hand for the start of the race and spoke on behalf of the Honourable R. John Efford, Minister of Natural Resources Canada.

"Our quality of life today and the legacy we leave our future generations demand fundamental change in the way in which we think about the environment," said Mr. Roy. "The Government of Canada is proud to support an event that recognizes the need for developing alternative energy sources."

"The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has been sponsoring solar-car competitions for fifteen years," said Richard King, head of the DOE Photovoltaics Research Program, "and Canadian teams have been a part of them since the earliest days. This year, we're especially happy to have Natural Resources Canada as a major sponsor and to take the race across Canada for the first time. We wish all the teams, American and Canadian, the best of luck in this exciting solar challenge."

As a strong supporter of new technology and innovation to better promote the responsible use of energy and reductions in greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change, NRCan is sponsoring the Canadian universities that are sending teams to Austin for this year's challenge. They include McMaster University, Queen's University, the University of Calgary, the University of Waterloo and Red River College.

All entries in NASC 2005 must follow strict guidelines for their construction as well as for their operation during the race. All cars must be powered only by the sun and follow all local speed limits, and all entries are put through an extensive series of tests before they are allowed to begin the race. The cars are also closely monitored during the course of the 10-day race to ensure the safety of all competitors.

The North American Solar Challenge 2005 is sponsored by NRCan, the U.S. Department of Energy and its National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Other sponsors include TransAlta, the University of Calgary, CSI Wireless, AMD, and Manitoba Transport and Government Services.

The Government of Canada's approach to climate change is focussed on making the right choices for Canada. This will ensure that the actions taken produce long-term and enduring results while maintaining a strong and growing economy.

FOR BROADCAST USE:

Teams from five Canadian universites are preparing to compete in the world's longest solar-car race. The North American Solar Challenge begins Sunday in Austin, Texas, and ends in Calgary, Alberta, on July 27. The Canadian teams are sponsored by Natural Resources Canada, which is also a co-sponsor of the race.

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