Six-time champions win American Solar Challenge

Jun 28, 2010

( -- Finishing more than two hours ahead of its nearest competitor, the University of Michigan Solar Car Team has won the American Solar Challenge for a third consecutive North American title.

The week-long, biennial 1,100-mile competition for solar-powered vehicles started in Broken Arrow, Okla., on June 20 and ended in Naperville, Ill., on Saturday, June 26. The U-M car was the first of 13 to cross the finish line at around 2 p.m. ET, for a final time of 28 hours, 14 minutes and 44 seconds.

This is the sixth North American title for the team, which won the inaugural event in 1990 with its first car, the Sunrunner.

"It's an unbelievable feeling," said engineering student Steve Durbin, the team's race manager. "This race means a lot to us because we're defending our home territory. It's great to see that all of our hard work paid off."

The team's car, Infinium, was reliable, Durbin said, whereas breakdowns dogged other fast teams. The U-M students faced only minor setbacks. Rain shorted out a lighting board, but they managed to fix it in five minutes on the roadside. A black widow spider moved into the spare battery pack, but the students removed it with a long pair of pliers.

"Everything went pretty smoothly," Durbin said.

This marks the end of the road for Infinium, the 10th-generation car. Each car runs two races—the North American race and the global race in Australia. In the 2009 Global Green Challenge (formerly the World Solar Challenge), Infinium placed third. That was the fourth time in the team's history that U-M has finished third in the world race.

Infinium is believed to be the university's fastest ever. It reached 100 mph in testing. The car traveled the speed limit during the race, which passed through many small towns with traffic lights. On the highways, the limit was 65 mph.

With more than 100 members, Solar Car is one of the largest student organizations on campus, including students from the College of Engineering; College of Literature, Science, and the Arts; Ross School of Business; School of Art & Design; and School of Education. Major sponsors this year include Michigan Engineering, Ford, General Motors, Delta and AT&T.

Explore further: Environmentally compatible organic solar cells

More information:

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Mirror technology propels 2007 U-M Solar Car team

Oct 15, 2007

Mirrors hold the hopes of the 2007 University of Michigan Solar Car Team. The storied student organization with more than 100 members has a potentially game-changing car design for the upcoming Panasonic World Solar Challenge, ...

Japanese solar car leads race Down Under

Oct 26, 2009

Japan's Tokai Challenger was on Monday leading a solar car race across the harsh Australian Outback, having covered about half of the 3,000 kilometre (1,860 mile) desert course, officials said.

Sleek new MIT solar car heads to the races

Feb 25, 2009

MIT's Solar Electric Vehicle Team, the oldest such student team in the country, has just finished construction of its latest high-tech car and will be unveiling it to the public this Friday from 3 to 5 p.m. ...

Recommended for you

Environmentally compatible organic solar cells

20 hours ago

Environmentally compatible production methods for organic solar cells from novel materials are in the focus of "MatHero". The new project coordinated by Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) aims at making ...

Floating nuclear plants could ride out tsunamis

21 hours ago

When an earthquake and tsunami struck the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant complex in 2011, neither the quake nor the inundation caused the ensuing contamination. Rather, it was the aftereffects—specifically, ...

Unlocking secrets of new solar material

21 hours ago

( —A new solar material that has the same crystal structure as a mineral first found in the Ural Mountains in 1839 is shooting up the efficiency charts faster than almost anything researchers have ...

Ikea buys wind farm in Illinois

Apr 15, 2014

These days, Ikea is assembling more than just furniture. About 150 miles south of Chicago in Vermilion County, Ill., the home goods giant is building a wind farm large enough to ensure that its stores will never have to buy ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

not rated yet Jun 28, 2010
I frequently read about solar cars, cars that get 8,870 MPG and various other marvels. When will these things become practical and available?

More news stories

Sony's PlayStation 4 sales top seven million

Sony says it has sold seven million PlayStation 4 worldwide since its launch last year and admitted it can't make them fast enough, in a welcome change of fortune for the Japanese consumer electronics giant.

Robotics goes micro-scale

( —The development of light-driven 'micro-robots' that can autonomously investigate and manipulate the nano-scale environment in a microscope comes a step closer, thanks to new research from the ...

Biologists help solve fungi mysteries

( —A new genetic analysis revealing the previously unknown biodiversity and distribution of thousands of fungi in North America might also reveal a previously underappreciated contributor to climate ...