Aurora Wheel Assembly Update

The Wheel Package Team is responsible for the design, analysis, and manufacturing of the vehicles spindle, hub assembly, and wheel. Additionally, the team must select hub bearings, and tires – being sure they will meet all of the requirements and meet regulations.

With this most recent design, the team decided to change from a 14 inch wheel to a 16 inch wheel. This decision was made because tires fitting the old style 14 inch wheel had become obsolete, and the increased weight of a cruiser class car required more robust wheels/tires. After cost analysis, the team made a choice to design custom wheels and leverage our sponsors for reduced material cost and machining. With this we were able to achieve our goal cost of $400/wheel compared to $1600/wheel from a wheel supplier. The wheels are machined from 6061-T6511 Aluminium supplied with a discount by Alro Steel – Lansing, and machining was completed by S & S Die Company – Lansing .

The wheels are designed specifically to be used with cheaper moped tires as well as more expensive solar racing tires. The moped tire is a Michelin City Grip and the solar car tire is also supplied by Michelin.   

The wheel mounts directly to the hub assembly which was machined completely by members of the team. The hub bearings are pressed into the hub. The hub bearings are deep-groove ball bearings supplied by NSK. The hub has extensive light weighting which helps to keep the component weight down. The brake disc is also mounted to the hub.

The hub assembly is mounted on the spindle. The spindle transfers wheel loads to the suspension. It was also machined by members of the team and is made from 4130 Steel.

All components are designed to meet the loading condition of a 3G bump, 1G corner and 1G braking – simultaneously. This was an overview of the wheel assembly of the new Aurora vehicle.

Awards & Recognition

Thank you to all of our sponsors!

As the new semester kicks into gear, every team from electrical to business to mechanical attracted new talent from across various technical backgrounds. New perspectives and new ideas will enhance our project. We hope they grow with us and lead our team to new heights!

Simultaneously, we have made a lot of progress on our newest car: Aurora. Our main chassis is complete, and we are working to have it powered by the beginning of next month! More importantly, companies such as Consumers Energy and Ford have visited our shop. During Ford’s visit, our members got to show off the progress we have made on Aurora and got to connect with their recruiters and engineers. Similarly, Consumers Energy paid a visit to our shop to witness Aurora. They also presented to our team about renewable energies and everything that they do to help power the State of Michigan.

We would like to thank Consumers Energy and Ford again for visiting our shop and all the support they have provided to us throughout the year!

Also, thank you to Aptiv, a global technology, for donating wire harnesses that will be essential for our cars electrical systems!

A big thank you to all of our sponsors. Without you, the MSU Solar Racing Team wouldn’t be able to build its new, innovative solar electric car: Aurora. And they are: General Motors, Consumers Energy, Material Testing Corporation, Ford, First Solar, Plascore, Alro Steel, Siemens PLM, S&S Die Company, Mitsuba, Nomura Co., Advanced Circuits?, Altair, Aptiv, Sika Axson, Rod End Supply, MSU College of Engineering, MSU’s ECE Department, MSU’s ME Department, Eli Broad College of Business, and ASMSU.

Thanks again to all our sponsors!

Awards & Recognition

MSU SRT at Detroit Auto Show 2019

The 2019 Detroit Auto Show began with the unveiling of various futuristic car. Similarly, our modern electric vehicle, Aurora, was designed with safety, reliability, and endurance in mind. This is evidence of our commitment to creating practical, sustainable transportation for the future. Yutaka Benson, one of our SRT members, shared his experience representing our team at the NAIAS; “The truly exciting part of the autoshow was seeing our project showcased among other innovative vehicles throughout the Cobo Center”.

During the four day stay, a variety of suppliers, visitors, and car enthusiasts were excited to learn about the tremendous progress MSU Solar Racing Team has made on Aurora. One of the many highlights at the Auto Show was that Channel 5 interviewed our President, Greg Stark, which helped us gain exposure and market our car to a larger audience. Check out the interview at:

Electric cars are a part of MSU’s Solar Racing Team’s DNA. We are currently producing a new car under immense time and budget pressures, so when we visited the Auto Show, it made all of our efforts worth it. Yutaka said his two semesters on the team taught him about “teamwork and real-life engineering” which let him proudly show off our car. Another member, Lauren, said, “It is flattering to display our car on a stage such as the Auto Show.” In the end, Spartans Will create the next generation of cars right at home.


MSU SRT 2018-19 School Year Updates

With school back in full swing, MSU solar is back working on our new vehicle. After much deliberation we have decided to go with Aurora, named after the Ancient Roman Goddess of Dawn. Aurora is a cruiser class vehicle with a much sleeker and more practical design than Leonidas, with over double the capacity in the battery pack. We should have the full body and array ready around the beginning of the spring semester and she should be entirely operational by the end of the school year and ready to compete in the FSGP this coming summer.

As the new year begins, we would like to welcome all of our new members to the team as well as thank those who have moved on from Michigan State, including Vice President/Mechanical Team Lead Aaron Feinauer. With his departure, Gregory Stark, former Electrical Team Lead has taken full control as President and relinquished the title of Electrical Team Lead. An election was held and Lauren Chance and Shubham Shedge will be the Mechanical and Electrical Team leads for the 2018-19 year, respectively.

Both of the new leads gave a short statement about their reactions to becoming team leads and their hopes for this coming year:


“I was really flattered to be nominated for the mechanical team lead, but to be given the position is such an honor. I know the role is going to require even more time and energy but I’m happy to give it. I’m pumped to give up that last sliver of my social life that is left and dedicate it to the Solar Racing Team. I care a lot about the success of this team and I look forward to seeing what we are capable of as we come to the end of the design phase of our two-seater car, Aurora, and are starting production. There’s a lot to get done and I’m excited to get to know other members of the team better over the next few months that I didn’t work with as much last year, as I spent a lot of my time with my sub-team (shout-out to the chassis team!).

I hope to inspire new members that join the team to stick with it and get as much out of it as I have. There’s so much experience to gain and cool people to meet; I want to make members feel comfortable to come to me with whatever and I truly just want to do right by the team; I have some major shoes to fill after our last mechanical team lead! That being said, I am so honored to take on the role and all its responsibilities and am so excited for the year to come. Go green!”


“The thrill of being a part of a huge project that is fueled by the passion and commitment with my fellow peers has already made me excited ever since I joined the team as a young freshman. As newly elected Electrical Team Lead, I only have one main goal ahead of me: to get this new project car finished and running for the summer competition in 2019. With a completely new and innovated battery pack, optimized design for a battery management system, sleek and efficient solar array design, accurate telemetry system, and state-of-the-art driver controls system and experience, the upcoming car’s electrical systems will keep our team on the level if not higher than our competitors come 2019. I am excited to see what the 2018-2019 school year has to offer and the final result of everyone’s hard work.”

Shubham and Lauren in Nebraska for the Formula Sun Grand Prix in 2018

Congratulations to both of these fantastic and dedicated members! We look forward to a strong 2018-19 year!



During the week of February 18th – 24th the Solar Racing Team was able to participate in several events through the College of Engineering’s E-week. SRT members were there for Introduce a Girl to Engineering, Science Night, Spartan 300, Impression 5, and the Engineering Expo. At these events the team was able to interact with an audience ranging from elementary to college students. Sponsors for the events include Ingersoll Rand, General Motors and General Electric.

As the MSU College of Engineering describes it, E-week intends to provide “students with dynamic career networking opportunities, while introducing young people to the potential of engineering as a career.” MSU SRT aligns with this viewpoint and throughout E-week collaborated with other Engineering groups on campus while looking to instill wonder in students about the growing potential of solar energy and solar racing.

“It was great to talk with students of all ages about the team and the scientific principles behind what powers the solar car. Our goal as a team is that, as a result of this week, more students are aware of the MSU Solar Racing Team and may in the future look into joining.” – Alex Konopka

The SRT’s main interactive event of E-week was a miniature solar car racing contest with the students. Attendants each had a mini solar car and a flashlight and would use the energy from the flashlight – converted by the solar panel into mechanical energy – to race their cars down the hallway similar to the process of how the full-size car looks to convert incoming light into motion.

MSU Solar Racing Team extends a large thank you to the College of Engineering and all the other sponsors, the members of our team who volunteered, and the volunteers from any group who came together to make a dynamic and educational E-week.


Awards & Recognition

MSU SRT at Detroit Auto Show 2018

MSU SRT was given the honor of displaying Leonidas at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit over the past two weeks. It was an exciting opportunity and everyone who participated had a wonderful time.

Mechanical Team member Dan Farat said, “The majority of people at the Auto Show have not seen a solar car in person before, so it was exciting to connect with the public and share details of our vehicle with them.”

“Being at the Auto Show is a great thing for our team for many reasons. For a lot of our new members, it’s the first chance they get to show off the car to their families and friends, and I love seeing how proud they are to talk to people about our team,” said President Greg Stark. “There is also the obvious benefit of the huge amount of exposure the team gets at such a large event.  There were thousands of visitors that saw the car that week, and many of them represented either our current sponsors or potential new sponsors. Overall, it is always a great way to further our mission of promoting STEM education and the potential of electric vehicle technology.”

MSU SRT would like to thank all of our sponsors, as well Automobili-D and everyone at the NAIAS who helped make our experience one to remember!


We’re Back!

MSU Solar is back and better than ever!  With a fresh leadership team in place (Greg Stark: Electrical Team Lead, Aaron Feinauer: Mechanical Team Lead, and Michael Mazza: Business Team Lead), our team has swelled to around 60 members and enthusiasm for the project is at an all time high. This influx of fresh faces and enthusiasm has prompted some changes for the team. We have a new name, a new logo and most importantly, we’re beginning a new car! We are now MSU Solar Racing Team, or MSU SRT for short.

MSU SRT is full of new faces and fortunate to have the experience and expertise of its returning members. We are more equipped than ever before to build a successful, race-worthy vehicle.

So what have we been doing these past 10 months? First and foremost, over the summer we competed in the Formula Sun Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.

In Austin,  the team fought against incredible adversity as our Tritium Battery Management System and Driver Controls system both failed unexpectedly. Through the hard work and extreme dedication of the Electrical team, we were able to repair a spare BMS with parts from the failed system, and create an entirely new Driver Controls system with an Arduino. This concluded with the triumph of passing scrutineering with 10 minutes left in the event, and taking Leonidas on his first ever lap around the Circuit of the Americas racetrack. While this is not the outcome we had in mind, it was a crucial step in the right direction for our team, and it allowed us to bring back a core group of experienced members that have become the backbone of this year’s team.

And what’s ahead? With a new lead for almost all sub-teams and a stronger collective team than ever before, we are poised and ready to start our next car to replace Leonidas.  The new designs are already well underway. Stay tuned for the next blog post where we are excited to announce some details about our new project!


Team Update 31st January, 2017

Heading into 2017 the team received a very generous donation from General Motors, which will be used to further improve the car and get it ready for competition. This week, the team is working on the to make improvements towards the suspension and the battery box. The competition is fast approaching and the suspension team will be having their lathe and mill training in the next few days to implement a new suspension system for the car to better fit the competition regulation. The President of Solar Car, Jesse Ouellette is working with members of the suspension team in order to bring the car up to speed.

Picture: Solar Car members Adeesh Shrestha and Tommy Tsuchiya work on taking the old suspension system apart.
Picture: Solar Car members Adeesh Shrestha and Tommy Tsuchiya work on taking the old suspension system apart.

Meanwhile, the electrical team is currently working on the arduino board to further improve the battery box. Also, the team is working on dwindling the number of cables required by the car in order to improve safety and to ensure that multiple problems cannot occur.

Many improvements will be added over the few coming weeks as things pick up in terms of workload for the MSU Solar Car team.


November 8th, 2016 Team Update

This week, the new recruits finally received their time in the shop working with and learning from the veterans of the team.  Prior, however, the team was split between mechanical and electrical with each new recruit given the option to choose what aspect of the car they would like to work on.  After choosing, the new members would meet within their subgroups to get directions as to what is needed to be accomplished before racing season.  Now that the assignment of jobs is finished, the solar racing team can now make a big step in production of the new car this year.

Sunday, November 6th, was the first time the recruits stepped foot into the shop to actually work on the car. “It was a great experience,” mechanical team recruit Sam Jacinto said, “I received a lot of hands on experience and the veterans had no problem helping with things I didn’t understand.”  All of the car has been stripped besides the chassis so that the sub groups can work on all projects of the automobile.  The team is well underway to accomplishing all of it’s goals by racing season.


Veterans; Dong Feng, Greg Stark, and Ian Grosh, show the new recruits the internal workings of an electric motor
Veterans; Dong Feng, Greg Stark, and Ian Grosh, show the new recruits the internal workings of an electric motor


There’s the Voltage- The Electrical Team is Up and…

MSU’s Solar Car team is officially ready to work! After being introduced to one another, assigned roles, and taught safety protocols, the electrical team is now ready to jump in on the action. After a formal safety training, safety measures will be taken seriously and carefully to ensure our team is safe at all times. Ian Grosh, the leader of the electrical team, showed the basics of how the car should be set up, the battery, and safety protocol in regards to electricity with the new electrical team members. Also, Solar Car will begin production at a quick and smooth rate to ensure we will be more efficient than ever. Work hard, work smart, and never quit. SPARTANS WILL!