Rivanna 2


The Aerobody subteam optimizes the geometry of the outer shell of the solar car to be as streamlined as possible while maintaining adequate space for the driver and internal components. It constructs the aeroshell out of carbon fiber so that its massive, non-structural volume doesn’t contribute much to the overall car weight. Once manufactured, access hatches and exits for the driver are implemented.

Brakes and Steering

The Brakes and Steering subteam researches, designs, and manufactures both the brakes and steering systems as well as the wheel and tire assemblies for the car. Braking distance and turning radius are key functions calculated to meet the set regulations which ensure safety and quality of the car. The system is designed with CAD software, and machining tools such as the waterjet are used to manufacture custom parts like brake rotors.


The chassis subteam designs the structural skeleton of the solar car. 1020-alloy steel tubes are arranged in a geometry to maximize safety of the driver, minimize overall weight, and maintain manufacturability. The entire chassis is only 157 lbs., capable of withstanding at least 5G of force in any direction, and was constructed with MIG welding.


The Embedded subteam works on designing the "brains" of the car in both hardware and software. Responsibilities include designing custom hardware to integrate the electrical components of the car and writing software to power these devices. The team works very closely with all of the other electrical subteams to ensure that the embedded system brings all of the separate components together. It also translates data sent over radio to visualize on the dashboard for the pit to analyze.

Hardware Integration

The Hardware Integration subteam is currently working on integrating hardware components into our electrical system. This includes designing a PCB that will read in driver input from buttons on the steering wheel and send them to the ECU PCB (the main electronic processing unit). Other work includes designing enclosures for our PCBs and researching ways to shield the electronics inside from interference.


The Power subteam is building an air-cooled battery pack with safety at its core. A hood is used to maximize airflow over the cells and isolate high voltage connections from the hands that will do maintenance. It has 416x 18650 lithium-ion cells, 13 parallel modules of 32 cells in series, max capacity of 4.94 kilowatt-hours, and is monitored by a battery protection system,


The Solar subteam is in charge of all things to do with the solar array, including designing, manufacturing, and installing the array on the aeroshell of the car. A secondary task is designing a series of sensors, meant to communicate the operational status of the solar array at any given moment. The array is 3.75 square meters, has 240 solar cells generating up to 820 watts, and monocrystalline cells with 22.5% efficiency.


The Suspension subteam focuses on holding the car in a stable location. When bumps are encountered, the spring component of the suspension compresses and allows for the wheel of the car to rise and fall independently of the chassis of the car.