Fall 2017

Car of the future

Eos II is the second solar-electric cruiser to be designed and built by the U’s Solar Vehicle Project team. Cruisers are designed for comfort and practicality rather than speed.
Photography by Rhonda Zurn

The University of Minnesota’s new solar vehicle, Eos II, has returned from Australia after completing the week-long, 1,800-mile Bridgestone World Solar Challenge.

Eos II is the 13th solar-electric car the U’s Solar Vehicle Project (SVP) team has built since its inception in 1990 and the fourth to take part in the challenge.

The Eos II team, which includes engineering and other students, received support from a number of individuals and organizations, including 3M, Ford Motor Co., and Delta Airlines. Sponsors provide parts, financial backing, and mentors, who help students apply what they learn in class.  

SVP’s director of engineering, Graham Krumpelmann, ’17, says working on the project makes students attractive to employers. “Companies want to see a direct application of what we learn in class, and this project gives us access to that,” he says. SVP alumni work at Google, Tesla, Medtronic, 3M, and other prestigious companies.

Although being able to test the car’s mettle in the challenge is an honor, it isn’t the project’s only benefit. “The most rewarding aspect is seeing people learning,” Krumpelmann says. “We build a car, but we mostly produce people who are better at their jobs—people who go out into the world and make it better.”

Go under the hood of Eos II: