Queen's University Solar Vehicle Team

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The Queen’s University Solar Vehicle Team (QSVT) was a dynamic, multidisciplinary student design project at Queen's University at Kingston, Kingston, Ontario, Canada, whose goal was to design and build vehicles that are solely powered by the sun’s energy. One of the two original Canadian teams, the Queen’s University Solar Vehicle Team designed, built and raced solar powered vehicles for twenty years. During this time the team rose to be one of the top teams on the international solar car racing circuit, participating in numerous solar vehicle races, including The Canadian Solar Discovery Challenge, the North American Solar Challenge (NASC) and the World Solar Challenge.

The team completed its 11th vehicle, which raced in 2007 and 2008. The team competed in two major races every two years. The North American Solar Challenge is held in July of every second year, typically spanning nearly 4000 km of North America over ten days. The World Solar Challenge, often called the world's premier solar car race, runs from Darwin to Adelaide, Australia, several months after the NASC.

As of the completion of the NASC 2008, the Queen's Solar Vehicle Team has been retired. The team was transformed into the Queen's University Solar Design Team which competes in the Solar Decathlon competition.

About the Team[edit]

The QSVT concentrated its efforts in three principal areas: technical innovation, educational activities, and environmental awareness. This broad focus gave the QSVT the ability to impact a wide variety of individuals and groups. To maintain the success that was established in these three areas, the cooperation and support of sponsors was essential.

Established in 1988, the QSVT designed and built its first car, Photomoto, to compete in the Great Canadian Solar Challenge. In the years following, the team had numerous astounding accomplishments. The summer of 2000 saw the team take on a cross-Canada tour, Suntrek, setting a Guinness World Record for the longest journey by a solar vehicle. During this tour, solar power, its uses, benefits, and importance were presented to Canadians through a variety of hands-on and educational activities. The QSVT’s races in 2003 were no less exciting; the team placed first out of the two-seater vehicles in both the North American Solar Challenge, and the World Solar Challenge, the two most prestigious solar vehicle competitions in North America and the world, respectively.

Behind all of the achievements and successes was a highly organized team. Through their efforts, the QSVT was able to achieve its goals and those of its sponsors through various activities including annual events at the provincial, national and international levels, each garnering considerable media attention. Thus, equipped with both a full corporate and media relations team, the QSVT was able to utilize fully all of its media coverage to the full advantage of its sponsors.

The team was made up of about one hundred undergraduate students from Queen's University at Kingston, mainly from the Faculty of Applied Science, the Faculty of Arts & Science, and the School of Business. Students performed all the tasks related to the team from engineering design and construction, to team administration and public education. It was a valuable opportunity that provided students with experience in engineering, management and teamwork preparing them for the workforce of today and tomorrow.


Between 1988 and 2008 the team designed, built and raced eleven vehicles. Starting in 1988 with Photomoto, the team won the Great Canadian Solar Challenge, and then built ten other award-winning vehicles.

Year Vehicle Achievements
1988 Photomoto 1st Place, Great Canadian Solar Challenge
1990 Sunquest 24th Place overall, WSC 1990
First Canadian Team to ever compete at WSC
1993 Sunquest II 14th Place overall, Sunrayce 1993
1995 Quest 6th Place overall, Sunrayce 1995
Top Canadian Team at Sunrayce 1995
1997 Dawn Treader 11th Place overall, WSC 1997
Top Canadian Team, WSC 1997
10th Place Overall Finish, Sunrayce 1997
Canadian Solar Discovery Challenge, National Champs
Canadian SDC Award for Technical Innovation, Solar Array
1999 Kinetic 2nd Place overall, Sunrayce 1999 Qualifiers
1999 Radiance 2nd Place overall Sunrayce 1999, WSC 1999
Top Canadian Team at Sunrayce 1999, WSC 1999
2000 SunTrek 2000, travelled 7044 km to enter the Guinness Book of World Records
2001 Mirage 4th Place overall, ASC 2001
5th Place overall, WSC 2001
Top Canadian Team at WSC 2001
2003 Gemini 1st Place two-seater WSC 2003, ASC 2003
Top Canadian Team at WSC 2003
Best Array, Electrical System, "To Boldly Go" Award at ASC 2003 for two-seater design
Hans Tholstrup Award at WSC 2003 for the spirit of the WSC
2005 Ultraviolet 1st Place two-seater NASC 2005
Winner of NASC "Never Give Up" Award
2007 Aurum Finished 15th in Challenge Class at WSC 2007
2008 Finished 12th (106:36:20) in the NASC 2008

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