Department of Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering in the College of Engineering at the University of Michigan


The 2013 World Solar Challenge

Posted: October 15, 2013

The 2013 World Solar Challenge

The U-M Solar Car Team finished in ninth place in the World Solar Challenge.

The vehicle suffered a crash when the team was in seventh place and worked hard to get the vehicle back up and running to finish the race.

AOSS student Kyle Chudler was driving the lead vehicle, which goes ahead of the solar car, at the time of the crash.

“Everything happened pretty quickly, but I heard the driver over the radio say that he was fine so that gave me some relief,” Chudler says. “I'm really impressed with how our team rallied after the crash. The damage to the car was definitely not insignificant, but we were able to fix it up overnight and get the car safe and ready to drive the next morning. It was a whole-team effort and everyone performed remarkably.”

Professor Aaron Ridley was also with the team as a faculty advisor during the trip. He says he really enjoyed being part of a diverse group of people who worked well together.

“The team was always a team. Everyone pitched in. Everyone helped out when and how they could,” Ridley says.

His advice to potential and current Solar Car Team members is to speak with experienced older team members.

“I would advise students to talk to past team members and alumni who have experience. Find out what worked and what didn't work. And why. Then, when things are designed and ready to manufacture, talk to them again to find out whether they think that the designs will work. Take their advice because they have been there. They know the pit falls and the problem areas.”

In the race’s history, U-M's team has come in third five times, most recently in 2011. It has finished first in the North American Solar Challenge seven times, most recently in 2012.

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