Meet Argo, Oman Car's first vehicle! Three years in the making, Argo is also the first solar vehicle from a University of Illinois team since the Photon Torpedo in 1997.

Argo's body design is catamaran style - a design which has become the traditional solar electric vehicle shape. It features a five fairing design: four for the wheels and one for the driver in the center.

Argo's structure is a semi-monocoque design, which means that the carbon fiber body and the carbon fiber sandwich panel chassis are structural parts of the vehicle. The only metal parts on the vehicle are the roll cage and suspension arms. This significantly reduces the weight of the vehicle.

Argo is a front wheel drive vehicle with the 16" tires on carbon fiber rims being driven by in-wheel electric motors. The on-board lithium-ion battery pack can hold over 5 kilowatt hours of energy, which the 6 square meter silicon cell solar array charges. Additionally, regenerative braking allows the vehicle to regain energy while slowing down.

Bringing Argo from the North Quad to the Bardeen Quad
Team members at the University of Illinois built nearly every part of Argo. This includes the solar array, which we fabricated in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Building's Clean Room and Open Lab facilities. In addition to the facilities provided by the ECE Department and the Engineering Design Council, the completion of Argo would not have been possible without the generous support of all our sponsors!

The next stop for Argo is the 2017 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge in Australia. The vehicle left the University of Illinois on Wednesday and will arrive mid-September ahead of the October challenge.

After the World Solar Challenge a slightly modified Argo will compete at the 2018 American Solar Challenge. Look for more posts soon about the creation of Argo and its journey to Australia!

Argo on the North Quad

This September and October our team will be heading to Australia for the World Solar Challenge. This is our first time participating in a race and we are very excited to meet other teams and drive through the Australian outback!

Thanks to the help of Renee from the UMNSVP team, we managed to sort out the logistics of getting the car to Australia even though we didn't have much time left.

This was two nights before Argo was brought onto campus from our workspace. We were doing a pre-flight test, which involved testing the functionality of the lights.

In the afternoon before the car was shipped out, we loaded the car onto a trailer to bring it from our workspace to campus, as the ECE Department had very generously agreed to let us use their loading dock.
Thank you Bruce for helping us to move the car!

Unloading the car from the trailer at ECEB involved a spare tire and some muscles. The ramp was too steep and the ground clearance of the car was too small so we couldn't just roll the car down.

While figuring out how to make the tight turn into the loading dock, it started to rain. We were being paranoid about water leaking into the car, although the mechanical team leader repeatedly assured us that the car would be fine. (We checked the car afterwards and it was indeed fine!)

We (and the car) were taking a shelter in a narrow walkway outside ECEB while part of the team figured out how to move the car to the loading dock. We had thought of putting the car on dollies but it just slid off the dollies. We ended up having to remove a post and sacrifice some bushes in order to bring the car in.

Roughly an hour later, the car was finally sitting at the loading dock.

Thank you to Scott and crew from machine shop for helping us to move the car and staff from the business office for your support. We couldn't have done this without you!

Before packing Argo into the crate, we drove it around campus.

Here's a video of Argo on the Bardeen Quad!

Argo looked so beautiful under the evening sun!

Crossing Springfield Ave.

After taking loads of pictures, we brought the car back to the loading dock once again, although it was much easier with new dollies that we'd just bought.

We spent all night on the loading dock to pack numerous supplies and the car into a pallet and a crate. That included cleaning every bit of sand/soil/dirt from the car so that it won't get steam cleaned while passing through the Australian customs - we heard that they are very strict about this!

Putting the car onto the crate

This was almost everything we packed to Australia!

We then wrapped the car...

...and built the first wall of the crate...

...and the second wall...

...then the third wall...

...and the last wall.

Last glimpse of the car before seeing it again in over a month!

The huge crate sitting in the loading dock.

This was how the pallet looked after it was wrapped.

Scott from the machine shop helped us again to forklift everything into a 53' dry van. Thank you Scott!

Argo finally departed! Thank you Clint and everyone in the receiving office for helping us!
Special thanks also to one of our newest sponsors - Ameren Illinois - for helping to fund shipping and other race costs!

Ending this post with a picture of our team and Argo on the North Quad.

Thank you again for everyone who has helped out, we can't wait for the #BWSC!