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Appalachian’s solar vehicle team qualifies for 2016 American Solar Challenge

By: Megan Hayes

WAMPUM, Pa.—On the first day of a three-day qualifying race, Appalachian State University’s solar vehicle team, Team Sunergy, qualified for the American Solar Challenge Tuesday, July 26, at the Pittsburgh International Race Complex in Wampum, Pennsylvania. The team is currently in third place overall.

After a send-off by Chancellor Sheri N. Everts and other supporters on Appalachian’s campus, the team departed Boone last week with their vehicle, Apperion, and began a series of grueling inspections and vehicle and driver qualifying assessments called “scrutineering” that includes solar array inspection, battery testing, structural and mechanical vehicle components, and driving tests to verify vehicle stability and braking capability. Vehicles that passed all scrutineering inspections then advanced to the Formula Sun track racing qualifier stage. During this phase, each team must complete 128 1.6-mile laps in one day or 192 laps in two consecutive days.

View larger imageWith a big smile, Lindsay Rudisill celebrates being qualified as a driver in the American Solar Challenge, as pit boss Jon Linck checks the vehicle with support from co-electrical assistant Logan Ward (who qualified as a driver earlier in the day) and business director and pit crew member Andrew Grimes.

Teams that pass all scrutineering and meet the track racing requirements are qualified to race in the American Solar Challenge, an eight-day 1,975-mile road course traveling through seven states from Brecksville, Ohio, to Hot Springs, South Dakota. In partnership with the National Park Service, the race organizers have created a route that will include stage checkpoints at nine national parks, historic sites or partner properties throughout the Midwest.

At the end of the first day of track racing, University of Michigan is in first place, having completed 194 laps, Principia College is in second place having completed 163 laps and Appalachian is in third place, having completed 147 laps. Currently, there are 12 teams in the qualifying track race and 20 in the competition.

Appalachian’s solar vehicle team is the only North Carolina team in the competition and one of only two teams in the South. This is the first time a North Carolina solar team has competed in this race.

For more information on the competition, team status and results, visit the 2016 American Solar Challenge/Formula Sun Grand Prix website at

About the Appalachian State University Solar Vehicle Team

Team Sunergy is a joint venture between the Department of Sustainable Technology and the Built Environment in the College of Fine and Applied Arts and the Department of Physics in the College of Arts and Sciences. The team focuses on advancing the technology and application of sustainable transportation while inspiring current and future generations to strive towards a more sustainable future. To learn more about Team Sunergy, visit

About Appalachian

Appalachian State University, in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The transformational Appalachian experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and embrace diversity and difference. As one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina system, Appalachian enrolls about 18,000 students, has a low faculty-to-student ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.