Did you ever wonder how a solar car works? On Tuesday, you can find out.

Alice Mannette
The Hutchinson News

Solar cars are headed to Kansas as they ride along the Santa Fe National Historic Trail. On Aug. 3, solar cars are headed from Independence to McPherson, where they will stop at Midway Motors. 

The cars are expected to arrive during the afternoon — it all depends on traffic. The public can watch the teams arrive from approximately 2:15 to 6 p.m. and choose their favorite team to follow throughout the event. The cars will be on display at Midway Motors in McPherson from 6 to 8 p.m.

Teams will be available to talk about their cars and answer questions. The Quivira Chapter, local chapter of the Santa Fe Trail Association, is working with Midway Motors to host the stop in McPherson. Chapter members will be on hand to provide information about the Santa Fe Trail.

"They're basically following the Santa Fe Trail," said Linda Colle, president of the Quivera Chapter of the Santa Fe Trail Association. "They're going along Route 56."

The solar powered car in Pennsylvania.

In addition, the McPherson College Auto Restoration program will have a few of their classic antique cars on display. The event is free and open to the public.

"These cars are really futuristic," Colle said.

When and what time to see the solar cars

On Aug. 4, the solar cars will start the next stage of the event beginning at 10 a.m. The public is encouraged to come out and cheer them on. The American Solar Challenge, in partnership with the National Park Service, will feature collegiate solar car teams in the road rally-style event Aug. 3 – 7,  along portions of the Santa Fe National Historic Trail to commemorate the Santa Fe Trail’s 200th anniversary.

Participants and their solar powered vehicles will make the journey from Missouri to New Mexico, following in the footsteps of traders who used the Trail between 1821 and 1880 and following routes that cross the cultural landscapes and homelands of many Indigenous peoples.

Traveling more than 900 miles, the solar cars will visit several towns and sites along the Santa Fe Trail, including: Independence, Mo., Council Grove, McPherson, Dodge City, Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site in La Junta, Colo, Las Vegas, N.M. and Santa Fe, N.M. Stops along the route will give visitors the opportunity to see the solar cars and explore the history and landscape of the Santa Fe Trail.