Polytechnique Montréal’s Esteban Project presented its new generation solar car on May 21 during a highly anticipated hypothetical reveal.


While the previous nine generations of the Esteban were futuristic and had individual seats of the “Challenger” type (according to the English used in the field), the Esteban can accommodate 10 passengers and is more of a “passenger car”, or “cruiser” type in English. It is the first prototype of a two-seater solar car produced by a university technical commission in Quebec.

The appearance of the new prototype differs from that of the cars of the previous generation, in that its hatchback body resembles that of the mainstream cars. The prototype is fitted with larger solar panels and its battery weight is not subject to restrictions, as per the requirements applicable to the class of vehicles with multiple IEF riders.

“We believe conventional vehicles are the future of solar car competitions,” explains Annabel Oger, co-director of Projet Esteban Technology and undergraduate in Industrial Engineering. “Soon, we will participate in the same IEF competitions and drive on the same tracks as the“ Challenger ”cars, but each class has its own rating and platform. For“ Challenger ”cars, only the performance on the track matters, but for the“ cruiser ”cars it is The point system is more complex: the practicality of the vehicle, and the mileage per passenger, are taken into account, battery capacity, average target speed, etc. It adds.

On its 20th anniversary, after climbing to the top of the Formula Sun Grand Prix 2018 competition, the team made a bold decision to change direction of the project and opt for a two-seater model design.

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“It contained many challenges! To overcome the limitations created by adding a passenger, we had to completely rework the aerodynamic structure as well as the mechanical and electrical systems,” confirms Benjamin Chase, co-director of the Esteban Project and undergraduate student in mechanical engineering. “We’ve really rethought everything from the ground up. And we also had to deal with the pandemic, which slowed down and forced us to revise our schedule and the way we worked.”

About 90 students spent thousands of hours developing the prototype over three years. The Polytechnic Technical Society currently has 35 active members.

Typically, the Project Esteban team would have participated in the American Solar Challenge 2021, an endurance rally that would take place on the roads of several states in the United States from July 27 to August 2, 2021. However, due to travel restrictions between Canada and the United States and quarantine measures in place Polytechnic Technical Society is considering further activities this summer.

“We will meet with the Kepikers this summer: In particular, we are considering a long-term march, if conditions allow, with the aim of reproducing the conditions for competition. The goal is to train our new members who have not yet had a chance to compete,” Annabel Oger explains. “Our goal is to test the car and train our members this summer, to solve the problems to reach the American Solar Challenge in 2022 with a reliable prototype, which will guarantee a good race!”

Projet Esteban also won the Formula Sun Grand Prix in 2019, thus winning the US Solar Challenge closed circuit event for the second year in a row, in addition to setting a record and winning an Outstanding Award.

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