Solar Car Said To Run In Months

Toyota giving Dr. Dungan a check to help with solar car. Another check from UTSA is said to be on its way.

By Brittany Weaver

Green energy has been pushed into our culture ever since global warming emerged as  a serious problem. The use of renewable resources, like solar energy, has become a part of everyday life, but could the power of the sun be strong enough to power a car? Dr. Joe Dungan and his students are meeting every Wednesday, looking to be the first high school in Texas to complete the feat.

Dungan pulled this idea from the college level to the high school level. Armed with a check from Toyota for $7,500, a hand full of students, and a good friend, Bob Franz, Dungan hopes to construct a solar powered car and have it run.

“The problem with the solar car is that it’s an electrical nightmare,” Franz said during one solar car meeting.

Finding a way around that problem will be difficult enough, but on top of that the team only has a few months to construct a full running car for the race that will be held on July 17. To help with this Dr. Les Shephard, professor at UTSA, is promising to contribute extra money .

“My goal is to have Madison and UTSA become sister schools,” Dungan said.

A solar car is made up of many parts and to deal with each component Dungan has split his group of students into three teams. There is the design team, the race team, and the mechanical team. Each team consists of three to four students with responsibilities such as keeping track of money spent, measurements of components, and thorough research.

“We are part of the mechanical team,” sophomore Devin Keilburg said. “I’m looking up batteries right now. We have to find one that will work for our car.”

Team work and strength in numbers really comes into play at this time, even though the numbers are low Dungan still remains optimistic. He has high faith in his students that they will finish the car on time.

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