Palo Alto High School students develop, build fully solar-powered vehicle


PALO ALTO, Calif. (KGO) — Students from Palo Alto High School are preparing to take a car that they built with their own hands and race it from Texas to California as part of one of the country’s premier high school STEM competitions.

The Solar Car Challenge features 22 teams of from across the United States. Their task is to create a solar-powered car capable of racing nearly across the country.


“I would have never thought that a group of high schoolers, especially that didn’t even know each other, could come together, become almost like a family and create a car that could go across the states,” Hanu Thakur said. “But we’re about to do it.”

Meet the Palo Alto Solar Racing Club…a small, but mighty and motivated group of students from Palo Alto High that are the innovators behind a solar-powered car.

It has max speed of 60 miles per hour and is able to travel 200 miles on one charge

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It’s also completely made from scratch. This team has been working 12 hour days over the Summer to develop and build this car to withstand a nearly cross-country trip.

“It’s just been a process of struggles trying to go from our prototype and idea to actually bringing it into real life,” Manasvi Noronha said. “But, there’s a lot of struggles along the way, but as long as you’re able to work together with your team, you can pull through in the end.”

We were there for the end – the final day of production before the team is off to Dallas, TX to compete in the 30th annual Solar Car Challenge.

High school students around the country have worked to build a solar car to compete in an eight-day, nearly fourteen hundred mile race from Texas to California.

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These students have completed their car in only four months.

“We’ve been working for months and months on this project,” Liam Livingston said. “So, we’d be so proud of ourselves to be able to bring it there and drive it all the way back.”

Program director Rupa Chaturvedi says the true prize for her will be seeing these students finish the incredible work that they started.

“That would be the best thing for this team to see their work actually make it,” Chaturvedi said. “For us, four weeks ago we weren’t sure we would complete the car. And now, we’re taking it to Dallas.”

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But this team isn’t just planning on showing up, they plan on winning the race back to their home state of California.

“I was really hopeful in the beginning, then as the season progressed in the middle, I was a little doubtful,” Thakur said. “But now, we’re almost there and I think we can do it.”

If the team passes their safety evaluations in Dallas in a few weeks, they will embark on their race beginning on July 16.

If you would like to help support the team, you can visit their GoFundMe page here.

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