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The American Solar Car Story
The purpose of this article is to address the technological innovation that the Michigan Solar Car team has brought to the automobile industry. This project was successfully handled by a small group of one hundred of the brightest students in Michigan and 300 sponsors.
Recently, I went to the 2010 Detroit Auto Show. It’s amazing! So much glamor and so many vehicles to choose from. However, in this article, I will not talk about car manufacturers and vehicles … I will talk about one vehicle that was pioneered twenty years ago and had an incredible response to the support of sponsors and students from the University of Michigan. . Yes, about the UM school’s tenth generation solar car named “Infinium”. Amazing solar vehicle! The team’s mission was a success. The UM Solar Car team won many racing awards in two competitions, national and international.
One of the young team members, a sophomore student told me how proud he is of all the team’s achievements, a wide array of leading technologies and many team innovations.
Michigan’s solar car race celebrates 20 years of existence. What an achievement!
Solar car teams have the most wins in the North American Championship, five out of nine times. In the World Championship contest finished 3rd, three times. It’s a good performance.
It all started twenty years ago when a group of spirited Michigan students won GM Sunrayce. Solar car Sunrunner 1990 took first place GM Sunrayce and 3rd place World Solar challenge.
Advances in battery technology used in solar vehicles have helped lead to breakthroughs in hybrids. These carbon fiber composite bodies are also used in Grand Prix racing cars and commercial aircraft.
Regenerative braking systems have been used since 1989 and are implemented in hybrid vehicles.
Advances in solar cells and collector systems are commonly used in large solar power plants.
The main components of a Michigan solar car are:
carbon fiber composite body and chassis
custom build suspension
less friction wheels
solar collector system (concentrator).
For car enthusiasts, the specifications of the 2007 Continuum solar car are listed below:
weight (without driver) – 475 lbs (215 kg)
size – 16.4 ft x 5.9 ft (5 m x 1.8 m
top speed – 87 mph (140 kmh)
maximum torque – 37 lb-ft (50.2 Nm)
nominal power output – 2.5 hp
max. power output – 12.3 hp
max. array output – 1900 watts
type of fuel – sun
battery – 30 kg (lithium polymer)
fuel economy – infinite
A few words about solar vehicle racing.
The World Solar Challenge was founded by Hans Tholstrup in 1987. It takes place in Australia and starts in North Australia in Darwin and ends in the South in Adelaide, around 1800 miles of racing. Race results: 3 third places. The North American Solar Challenge Race was founded by GM in 1989. It is 2500 miles from start to finish. The race itinerary starts in Dallas, Texas and ends in Calgary, Alberta. Competition results: 5 National Championships.
The Michigan Solar Car Team organization consists of 4 units: engineering, business, operations and strategy. The Solar Car UM team’s budget cost of $2,600,000 includes costs: vehicle, strategy, business, operational and logistics.
Among the most famous sponsors of UM Solar Car are: GM, Ford, Dana, Denso, Shell, Roush, Alcoa, SKF Group, Detroit Automobile Dealers Association, Molex, Tel-X Corporation, Vector Group, A123 system, Delta, AT&T, Motorola , Bowne, Cytec, Michelin, 3M, Kaiser Aluminum, Visteon, ArvinMeritor, and more.
Media companies covering the solar car team are: ABC, Boston Globe, CBS, CNN, Discovery Channel, ESPN, New York Times, MSNBC, Popular Mechanics, USA Today.
The UM Solar Car team continues to seek sponsorship and donations. As part of the nonprofit University of Michigan, the Solar Car Team is a 501(c)3 organization. All donations are eligible for tax exemption, whether cash and material donations and select services.
UM Solar Car Donor and Sponsor Levels are listed below:
1. Platinum ($100,000 or more, minimum $25,000 cash)
2. Gold ($25,000 to $99,999, minimum $5,000 cash)
3. Silver ($10,000 to $24,999)
4. Bronze ($2,500 to $9,999)
5. Body (under $2,500)
The UM Solar Car team is a legacy of excellence. List of past Michigan Solar Cars names, Model Years and Award winners:
Sunrunner 1990, 1st place GM Sunrayce, 3rd place World Solar Challenge,
Maize & Blue 1993, 1st Place GM Sunrayce,
Solar Vision 1995,
Corn Blaze 1999,
M-Pulse 2001, 1st place American Solar Challenge, 3rd place World Solar Challenge,
Momentum 2005, 1st place American Solar Challenge, 3rd place World Solar Challenge,
Continuum 2007, 1st Place American Solar Challenge,
The UM Solar Car team is a perfect example of green technology in action. Solar cars are a shining example of promoting alternative energy sources and developing advanced technologies. This allows the solar team to expand its public reach.
The North American International Auto Show in Detroit reveals the potential and capabilities of solar, electric and hybrid vehicles to a diverse audience. The future looks bright! For more information, visit: http://www.umsolar.com.
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