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Solar-powered bike, made in Denver South High School, to make maiden journey

Student engineers test solar-powered bike at Denver Washington Park
Student engineers test solar-powered bike at Denver Washington Park 02:17

A group of student engineers from Denver South High School are seeing the fruits of their labor as a years-long project comes to life. They're getting ready to take their modified and solar-powered bike on its maiden journey.

The solar bike -- also known as the "Solar Quest Lancer" -- is a completely electric bike charged with solar power and custom-made batteries. It also has a body built around it and the driver.

"It's exciting to see it actually come to life," said Jack Dawnson, a senior at South High. He and his classmates have been working on the bike for the past two years.

Jack Dawnson   CBS

"I have never done anything electrical in my life, so it was an experience for me to learn how to put together batteries, to learn how to use the solar charge, and overall just make it work," he said.

The project is part of South High School's Makerspace -- an organization where students' ideas can become inventions.

Zach Marchetti is the technology director and sponsor of Makerspace.

"Everybody kinda pitches in and becomes a great community project," said Marchetti. He says the Solar Quest Lancer has seen its fair share of challenges. "We had to build the body in three separate pieces so it could move up and down the stairs of the school."

Now the Solar Quest Lancer is ready to be put to the test.


"We wanted to see if we could make a car that could go from here to the Kansas border on solar power," Marchetti says.

The trip will take nine hours to travel 180 miles, only going about 30 miles per hour. It's an example of a trip that's not about the destination – but about the journey.

"I'm feeling pretty excited. A little bit skeptical in a way," said Dawnson. "It's going to be a long drive. It's gonna be fun."

They plan to make the trip within the next few weeks, after sorting out logistics with the insurance, route and maintenance. 

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