2019 Solar Car Conference Topics

The 2019 Solar Car Conference will host a variety of talks to get teams the information they will need to be successful as they design, build, and race their cars.

The list below is subject to change, and does not include the one-on-one opportunities with inspectors and event staff.

Battery Technology This session will cover what a team needs to know when selecting a battery. – Steve McMullen
Designing and Building a Race Pack This session will cover observations and suggestions when designing and building a race pack. – Steve McMullen
Getting Started for New Teams A great session for teams just getting started and teams that have experienced a significant turnover in leadership!  Get guidance on everything from completing the required paperwork to working with your university for proof of insurance and the team participation agreement.  Learn how to achieve “all green” on the pre-event status board and get an early scrutineering slot. – Evan Stumpges
Scheduling & Budgeting Deep Dive This session will unpack two key areas of managing a successful project – keeping it on schedule and staying within budget.  For schedule, we’ll discuss actual working days, lead times needed for specific materials, and slack time for unexpected issues that arise. On the budget side, we’ll look at the iterative process of putting the budget together, cash flows, impacts on fundraising, and resource needs beyond just money. – Paul Hirtz
Managing Expectations across Customers With a solar car project, you have many different stakeholders.  Come learn how to manage expectations across university officials, sponsors, alumni, faculty, event organizers, team members, etc. – Paul Hirtz
Effective Leadership The goal of this session is to give you advice on how to be a more effective leader within your team. During the session, we will discuss leadership principles, tips specific to handling the challenges behind leading solar car teams, and advice on how to conduct effective team building. – Senait Nuguse
Composites Design Basic design considerations and best practices for composite bodies, frames, and other solar car components. This will include designing effective load paths, design for manufacturing, selecting materials, and how to test designs. – Wade Johanns
Composites Manufacturing A review of composite manufacturing processes including wet layup, infusion, and autoclave. Fabricating molds, vacuum bagging, and best practices for assembly will also be covered. – Wade Johanns
BPS (Battery Protection System) Design and construction considerations for measurement and control of lithium battery protection. – Dan Bohachick
Strategy & Total Vehicle Optimization An overview of factors and methods for establishing a decision framework in which your team can maximize benefits at each phase in your vehicle’s design, construction, test, and race plans. – Dan Bohachick
Test Driven Development This session will cover how to test your code as you write it, and build confidence in its ability to continually deliver the intended value, even after the next generation of your team takes it over. – Alec Carpenter
Electrical Topics Open Q&A Got questions that weren’t covered in the other electrical sessions?  Come to this session for an open time of questions and answers with the electrical presenters. – Steve McMullen, Dan Bohachick, and more
Solar Car Suspension Design Discussion of key suspension and steering system design considerations for achieving and efficient and stable vehicle. – Evan Stumpges
Preparing Your Mechanical Report In recent years, the mechanical report has evolved to hopefully make it easier for teams to complete and less time-intensive for the inspectors to review.  Come hear first-hand how to approach completing your mechanical report to get it right the first time. – Brian Call
Overall Mechanical Design A discussion of brakes, fasteners, and more.  Learn from the mechanical inspectors what to watch out as you design for and what they will be looking for when they inspect your solar car. – Brian Call
Mechanical Failures Learn from the past mistakes of other teams.  This session will be heavily driven by photos and examples of past failures, with a discussion of how to avoid making these same mistakes with your solar car project. – Brian Call
Driver Information System Architecture A well-executed Driver Information System can be a real help to a Solar Car Team.  A poorly executed one can be worse than no system at all.  This presentation will discuss requirements and realistic expectations for driver information.  It will address hardware and software selection, information flow, logging requirements, communications protocols, and real-time considerations.

The presenter has over 30 years of experience in industry doing control work with an emphasis on industrial data communications.  He serves as an advisor for the SIU-Edwardsville Solar Car team. – Dave Holdeman

Team Success Stories This session will include presentations from the University of Michigan, Appalachian State, University of California Berkeley, and University of Minnesota. Michigan will be discussing how to maintain a quick design/build cycle, App State will be discussing business team operations, Cal Sol will be discussing recruitment, and Minnesota will be discussing how to get sponsors actively interested in your project. After the presentations there will be a Q&A. Learn from their insights and see how you can apply these for your team’s own success! – Senait Nuguse
MOV Charging & Metering This session will discuss the plans for implementing MOV grid charging, power metering, and the energy efficiency scoring equation. If your team is looking to enter a multi-occupant vehicle in an upcoming event, please send at least one representative to be part of this discussion. – Dale Reid & Evan Stumpges
Entrepreneurship Our take on small business ownership – a journey that started with being on a solar car team. – Alain Chuzel & Linda Bozarth
Array Topics to include the fundamentals of array design, make or buy decisions, installation and testing. – Alain Chuzel & Linda Bozarth
How to Win Using Modeling and Simulation? This session will cover how simulations can help teams gain a significant advantage in their design cycles. The presentation will introduce MATLAB and Simulink examples in the applications areas of battery modeling, vehicle modeling, control system design and suspension tuning. Come to the session and also learn how MathWorks supports the American Solar Challenge participants! – Swarooph Seshadri