On Saturday, The University of Michigan (U-M) solar racing team won its fourth consecutive American Solar Challenge (ASC), which is a 1,600 mile, week-long endurance race that began in Rochester, NY and concluded in St. Paul, MN. The win earned U-M its 7th National Championship and firmly establishes the team as the country’s elite solar racing organization.
U-M’s single-seat solar race car, Quantum, finished the race with the largest margin of victory in ASC history. Quantum is U-M’s 11th solar vehicle and was created by a team of over 100 students. Completely powered by the sun, its top speed is estimated at 105 mph – pretty fast for a car that uses the same amount of energy as a hair dryer.
Quantum’s custom-made lithium ion battery was crucial to this race and the car’s overall success. It was created from scratch with an assist from SolidWorks Simulation to help test for overheating. In addition, the U-M team relied upon SolidWorks 3D CAD software to model all of Quantum’s components, and determined the amount of space needed for each part. The result created a vehicle that was 30 percent more aerodynamic and 200 pounds lighter than its predecessor.
Sunset is far from the team’s mind. Even before the ASC, U-M began work on its next vehicle with the goal of becoming only the second American team to win the World Solar Challenge scheduled for October 2013. Car and eco enthusiasts can follow the team’s progress or make a donation here: http://solarcar.engin.umich.edu/
Great job U-M! We can’t wait to test drive car #12.