Solar Car

Upcoming Events

July 26–31
Cheer on the solar car team as they compete in the American Solar Challenge Formula Sun Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, TX. Principia Internet Radio will stream live updates with the solar car team each evening at 8 p.m. CST. Listen here.

October 18–25
We'll join more than 40 teams from around the globe for the World Solar Challenge in Australia.

Team History

For nearly 20 years, the solar car team has competed in races in the U.S. and around the world, going up against engineering powerhouses such as MIT and the University of Michigan. The nine solar cars built by Principia have logged well over 30,000 miles in North America, Australia, China, Greece, Taiwan, and the United Arab Emirates. In the last 15 years, Principia has repeatedly placed among the top seven finishers and won six safety awards and three engineering excellence awards. 

Team members designed and built Principia's ninth solar car, Ra 9, in preparation for the 2014 American Solar Challenge (ASC) and the 2015 World Solar Challenge (WSC). Ra 9 is the only known solar car in the world built to race in both events. The team placed fifth and took home the award for Best Electrical Design in the 2014 ASC.

In January 2015, Principia traveled to the United Arab Emirates to compete in the Abu Dhabi Solar Challenge, a three-day, 1,200-kilometer race. Ra 9 placed sixth, and Principia's team received the Shell Innovation Award for "...outstanding technical ingenuity along with optimal use of new materials, components, and inventions." The team was also the unanimous choice for the International Solar Car Federation's (ISF) Quiet Acheiver Award, which recognizes the team that best represented the mission of the ISF and the spirit of the competition. Learn more about the solar car team's participation in this race.

In 2009, Principia finished seventh in the World Solar Challenge, a 3000-kilometer race across the Australian outback, and in the 2011 WSC, Principia was one of only 37 teams to complete the trek from Darwin to Adelaide. The team placed third in the 2012 American Solar Challenge—a 1,650 mile race from New York to Minnesota, and finished fourth in the 2013 Formula Sun Grand Prix in Austin, Texas.

Visit for more information about the team.

Visit Principia College's official solar car website.

I use the skills I developed with solar car every day. Also, I've seen firsthand how my liberal arts background from Principia helps me because I can write and communicate effectively in my job.