This morning the American Solar Challenge posted a short video of a Belgian entry in the upcoming 2014 race. While watching the video I noticed something about most of the designs I’ve seen in this class of solar racer.
The pilot’s cabin is located smack dab in the middle of the racer. Huh that’s sort of strange I thought to myself. Seems like putting someone there would make things more complicated and potentially slower because of aerodynamic drag. Pen in hand I had already sketched a diagram of the problem.
Most of these vehicles require that the entire PV suface (which is necessarily large) must be separated from the vehicle and lifted for a single person to get in or out of the car. Pushing the canopy all the way over to the side (one direction or the other) would allow easy ingress and egress from the vehicle. Spreading battery weight out across the width of the vehicle would help to offset any unballancing action the driver’s weight might create.