Team New England

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TNE-II in Australian Outback

Team New England is a solar car racing team based in the Boston, Massachusetts area. It is known for its innovative and sometimes controversial approach to solar car racing and heartbreaking losses. The Team New England pioneered the use of folding, stored arrays in solar vehicles, which were technically allowed, but controversial because of their significant advantage to traditional fixed array vehicles. Team New England also began the use of new aerodynamic theories for extremely low drag vehicles which emphasized the effect of frictional drag over traditional parameters[1] Over a decade after they were formed, Team New England members are still considered pioneers and experts in solar car racing and design [1]


Team New England (TNE) [2] was initially a friendly branch off from MIT Solar Electric Vehicle Team and the UMass Lowell Solar Car team. Initially, it was formed in June 1993 to create a revolutionary entry for the 1993 World Solar Challenge in November. Then, it raced a completely new car in Sunrayce 1995 under the Northern Essex Community College banner when both MIT and UMass Lowell had their own entries. Several Boston University students joined forces in 1995, and subsequently launched their own solar car team. TNE also raced several electric vehicles in the American Tour de Sol including a Solectria Force Solectria Force, a converted 1959 Berkeley Berkeley Cars, and a Solectria Super Force (Force with Turtle Trailer)

The team is led by Olaf "Obie" Bleck. Ted "T" Bohn, Andrew Heafitz, James Nelson, Spencer Quong, Richard R. Rahders, Richard "Tricky" Shanahan, and Goro Tamai are also active team members.

Races and accomplishments[edit]

  • 1993: World Solar Challenge with TNE II. Innovated the use of stored solar arrays to dramatically improve efficiency.
  • 1994: Mount Washington Climb to the Clouds. TNE II was the New World Record for an Electric Powered Vehicle: 16:10:11.
  • 1994: American Tour De Sol - TNE II First place Open Category
  • 1995: American Tour De Sol - TNE II Most Efficient Vehicle (Open Category), Third Place Open 3/4 Wheeled
  • 1995: Sunrayce 1995. TNE III First Vehicle never to be passed while driving, First vehicle in Sunrayce History to exceed 50MPH average on a leg of the race. Penalties were levied for being "too competitive" which partially contributed to a seventh-place finish
  • 1995: Pikes Peak Hillclimb solar car race to peak - first place. TNE III Most of the competition dropped out when they discovered Team New England was entering
  • 1995: Pocono Speedway EV race. First Place, GM's Impact (EV1) showed up to the race but dropped out when TNE III was rumored that it might go over 90 mph.
  • 1996: World Solar Challenge - Adjunct Team in California raced Pumpkinseed
  • 1997: American Tour De Sol - 1959 Berkley EV conversion - Most Efficient Vehicle, all legs of the race.
  • 2000: American Tour De Sol - Solectria Super Force - Third Place Battery Electric.
  • 2001: American Tour De Sol - Solectria Super Force - First Place Overall


  1. ^ The Leading Edge, Tamai, Goro, Robert Bentley, Inc., 1999.
  • "TNEII". University of Massachusetts Lowell. Archived from the original on 8 September 2006. Retrieved 15 December 2010. 
  • "TNEIII". University of Massachusetts Lowell. Archived from the original on 8 September 2006. Retrieved 15 December 2010. 
  • "Pumpkinseed". University of Massachusetts Lowell. Archived from the original on 8 September 2006. Retrieved 15 December 2010.