College students race solar cars halfway across country

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Wind Cave National Park, SD College students from across the country are taking the wheel on environmental awareness.

A dozen teams raced 1800 miles using the power of the sun during the American Solar Challenge.

And Saturday, they crossed the finish line on the 8 day trek to Wind Cave National Park.

Gail Lueck, the event coordinator, said "Obviously it's a great demonstration of what the young minds and this next generation of students can do with alternative energy."

Teams are putting the go green movement on wheels - but this isn't your average passenger car.

Charles Perry, an engineering student at Polytechnique Montreal, said "This is a solar car, so we gathered the energy from the sun to store it in a battery. Then we used this battery to power our cars."

The Polytechnique Montreal team were first to roll through Wind Cave National Park, Saturday.

This eco-friendly vehicle was built from the ground up - and it took this crew of 25 - 2 years to build.

Perry said "Fossil fuels are running low and things like solar energy, we have an infinite amount."

12 teams from across the US and Canada competed in the American Solar Challenge.

The team with the lowest total time takes the gold.

And this year's event took racers from Ohio to South Dakota - with stops at 9 National Parks along the way to celebrate their Centennial.

The Park Service Mission:

Lauren Blacik, a park ranger, said "Is to preserve and protect lands for the enjoyment of all people. Kind of the original sustainability message."

A similar theme to the American Solar Challenge.

Perry said "It's a small step and we hope to move further in that direction."

The race started on July 30th at Cuyahoga National Park with weather being the only speed bump.

Lueck said "With the cloudy skies, and I understand there's also been a little bit of rain on the course - the teams are traveling, but they're traveling a little bit slower today."

The American Solar Challenge dates back to 1990 - with races all over the world.
Lueck said "With the cloudy skies, and I understand there's also been a little bit of rain on the course - the teams are traveling, but they're traveling a little bit slower today.">