Stepping on the Gas, One Solar Panel at a Time


Karen Cateriano

Members of the robotics team test their solar powered car in Everglades City on Oct. 25.

Julian Concepcion, Head Photographer

On Monday, Oct. 25, the robotics team drove for two hours out to Everglades City to hold a trial run for their innovative solar powered car. The trip went on for the majority of the day, and helped the team understand ways to improve their design for the upcoming race in Fort Myers, Fla. on Apr. 2.

“Honestly, it was a huge help to the team that we all went out for this,” said senior Mateo Jaime. “I can’t really think of a reasonable place where we could test out the solar car, so Mr. Carballo going out of his way to do this for us was a huge help. The racetrack that we were at gave us more than enough room to run our emulation of the race, and it provided a lot of valuable [information].”

The main reason that the robotics team traveled to Everglades City was to perform an extensive test, formulated based off of the race that will take place in April. The team tested multiple aspects of the solar powered car, including its aerodynamics, rolling resistance, motor draw, and more. Although the car encountered some problems, such as failing to finish the second lap, the robotics team gained new insights on their design as well as developed team camaraderie.

“It’s key for students to understand that we need to make the car efficient, but I would say that there was another main objective for the trip. Team building and bonding during the trial and lunch is almost equally as important,” said engineering teacher Robert Carballo. “Overall, whether or not the solar car was ready, the trip was a huge success. The team gathered crucial information about the current state of the car, and came closer as a group during the trip.”

The trip to Everglades City proved to be a valuable experience for all members of the team.

“I’m glad that we all got together for this trip,” said senior Santiago Tirado. “I really feel like we all got a chance to de-stress that day, not just with the solar car pressure, but with everything in general. Everyone really grew closer as a team on Monday, and I’m excited to see what’s next on our agenda.”