SANTIAGO, Chile (November 15, 2012)--The second annual Solar Challenge is underway in Chile's Atacama desert where 15 solar-powered cars rolled out of an old salt mine Thursday.
The solar-powered prototypes will travel more than 800 miles through the world's driest desert in the four-day, multinational race
There are two categories: cars powered only by solar energy, and three-wheeled models that get a little help from pedals pushed by the drivers themselves.
The cars had to be built for less than $7,000, forcing their makers to be creative more than wealthy.
Most of the teams represent university engineering departments.
The big finish is Monday.
Winners get prizes of $30,000 in the solar category and $9,000 in the hybrid category.