Solar rollers: Sun-powered cars to pass through Decatur Tuesday

By Bob Buckel | Published Wednesday, July 16, 2014

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The 2014 American Solar Challenge – a cross-country race from Austin to Minneapolis – will roll through Decatur Tuesday morning.

They won’t be stopping for gas.

Solar Speeders

SOLAR SPEEDERS – The University of Texas Solar Vehicle Team is one of 23 expected to roll through Wise County Tuesday morning in the 2014 American Solar Challenge race. After starting Monday morning in Austin, the race will end July 28 in Minneapolis. Submitted photo

As many as 23 teams, made up of engineering students from universities in the U.S., Canada, Taiwan, Germany, Puerto Rico and Iran, have built vehicles powered by solar energy for the race, which is held every two years.

After three days of qualifying and “scrutineering” on the Grand Prix track at Austin’s Circuit of The Americas, the vehicles and teams will charge up and leave Austin Monday morning, heading up U.S. 281 through Lampasas, Stephenville and Granbury before stopping for the night in Weatherford.

They’ll leave Tuesday morning around 9 a.m. from the Weatherford College campus and come up Farm Road 51 through Springtown.

After jogging west on Texas 114, they’ll continue north on 51 into Decatur. The entourage will get on the U.S. 81/287 access road and then take Business U.S. 81/287 northwest until it merges with the main highway north of town.

Then it’s on through Alvord, Bowie, up to Duncan, Okla., and another overnight stop, this time in Norman, Okla.

The 1,700-mile journey ends July 28 on the campus of the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.

At stops along the way, the public is invited to come out, see the cars and talk with team members. Barring unforeseen problems, no one will be stopping in Decatur – but the public is invited to turn out and watch them go by, and local drivers are urged to give them a little space as they move through town.

The winner of the American Solar Challenge is determined by the total elapsed time to complete the race route.

For information on the event, visit

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