The Midnight Sun legacy, which began 25 years ago with a solar powered bike, is now taking a turn in a more “practical” direction. The solar racecar team is aiming to design and build a more conventional, consumer-friendly, and marketable solar car through the 11th generation of their world-renowned Midnight Sun. “In the past we’ve competed in the challenger class, which is basically more like racecars — you’re aiming for speed and fast times,” said Kevin Pan, electrical manager at Midnight Sun. “[The challenger class] is not very future-oriented or market-viable; something that people would want to buy and that would be practical,” added Jonathan Tang, business team co-op. Midnight Sun’s latest project will be their first car to ever compete in the cruiser class. The MS XI will feature four wheels, two upright seats for both the driver and a passenger, two side doors, a steering wheel, and a trunk. “It’s more about practicality than performance,” said Tang. The team launched their Fundin’ the Sun crowdfunding campaign Feb. 28 in order to raise money for the car. Their goal is to raise $15,000 by April 29, in order to be able to build and tour the MS XI across Ontario in May 2015. The team needs a total amount of $250,000 to build and race the car, $50,000 of which is needed for the solar array, alongside the $60,000 needed for the carbon-fiber aerobody. The perks of donating range everywhere from a “Behind the Scenes” DVD to the opportunity to have your name on the car. A ride in the completed MS XI is also among the incentives to sponsor the team’s Fundin’ the Sun campaign. “Besides trying to get some money, we’re also trying to raise awareness. And once [we] have raised that awareness, [we’re] giving people the opportunity to donate to the cause if they believe in the technology actually being able to go out on the roads,” said project manager Aby Mahmoud on the team’s Indiegogo platform. “There’s this stigma with solar energy, that it’s not practical. What people don’t realize is that trends and breakthroughs are happening with solar energy,” said Pan. “I think that if we can get people to see that it is a viable source of power and that you can use solar energy to power a car, it will help people break that stigma.” “The ultimate goal is not only to just build a solar car and leave it in a garage. Our ultimate goal is to promote solar energy and bring it to people in a way that they would want,” said Tang. Those interested in donating to the Fundin’ the Sun campaign can do so at <a href="http://bit.ly/fundthesun" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">bit.ly/fundthesun</a>. For more information on the team and their mission, visit <a href="http://www.uwmidsun.com" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">www.uwmidsun.com</a>.
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