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

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U-M Solar Car Team defends national title in hard-fought win

Posted: July 31, 2014

U-M Solar Car Team defends national title in hard-fought win

By Nicole Casal Moore

After a series of setbacks including a motor problem that sidelined their vehicle in the first 10 minutes of an eight-day race, the University of Michigan's national champion Solar Car Team has won the American Solar Challenge, according to unofficial results.

The team crossed the finish line in Minneapolis at 1:50 p.m. ET Monday, July 28, earning its fifth consecutive first place in the 1,700-mile contest. The race, which happens every other year on a different course, began in Austin, Texas, on July 20.

Michigan raced against 22 other teams of college students that had built their own solar-powered electric vehicles.

Breaking from its traditional approach, the team ran an older vehicle named Quantum — a lightweight three-wheeler that took third in the World Solar Challenge in Australia in 2011 and first in the American race in 2012. Typically, the students enter the car they most recently built for Australia. But the last Australian race required four wheels, which is a slower configuration than three.

Quantum is a solid car, but none of the students on the current team were involved in building it. So they didn't know it as intimately as most teams know the car they're racing. Beyond that, due to turnover and graduation, none of these students had ever raced before.

"For a young team to come together and learn how this car works is a pretty incredible feat," AOSS Student Allison Hogikyan told The Record.

Read the full story on The Record.

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