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Infinium Sun Car Races Ahead

Posted By KG On August 25, 2009 @ 12:30 pm In Environment,Green Transportation,Innovation,Solar Power | No Comments

Infinium Solar Car, racing, electric vehicle, photovoltaic, lithium battery, Michigan Engineering, U-M, Ford, General Motors

In a converted warehouse on the outskirts of Ann Arbor (Michigan’s other city), swarms of brilliant students harness conceptual, terrestrial and solar power for unusually racy, million-dollar road trips. Enter the Infinium 2009 [1] solar car. Strips of photovoltaic panels [2] (the space-age, gallium-arsenide [3] kind) absorb the sun’s energy along a sleek and light carbon-fiber shell, and a 16-hp electric motor in one of its three wheels propels the 600-lb coupe up to 90 miles per hour and 98 percent efficiency. Awesome aerodynamics and innovative innards apparently allow the Infinium a driving range of 200 to 300 miles without any sunlight at all.

Infinium Solar Car, racing, electric vehicle, photovoltaic, lithium battery, Michigan Engineering, U-M, Ford, General Motors

Revving up for the World Solar Challenge [4] — an 1,800–mile race across Australia this October — the University of Michigan’s Solar Car Team [5] pools academic disciplines, corporate backing and 3-D technology to engineer highly competitive electric vehicles. The Infinium [6] is their tenth sun car in 20 years. In order to produce such a lean, clean and “green” machine, the 150 or so collaborators use CAD [7] and Z Corp [8] for efficient design, and mostly titanium and aluminum parts.

No wonder major car companies like Ford and GM are paying attention — and money — toward U-M’s sunny efforts that could boost prospects for their own EVs. For example, according to Popular Science [9], the Infinium’s 50-lb lithium battery is one-third the size of GM’s Chevy Volt [10]. Even Hollywood has taken notice, documenting and awarding the climactic story of this starry bandwagon’s predecessor, the Continuum [11].

In a recent interview with ars technica [12], the team’s strategy director Alex Dowling compares the Infinium to “a pregnant poptart” and reveals more under the hood and behind the scenes in the race for a place in the sun.

+ Infinium [6]

Via Designboom [13]

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URL to article: http://inhabitat.com/infinium-sun-car-races-ahead/

URLs in this post:

[1] Infinium 2009: http://www.designboom.com/weblog/cat/16/view/7315/infinium-solar-vehicle.html

[2] photovoltaic panels: http://www.inhabitat.com/solar-power/

[3] gallium-arsenide: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gallium(III)_arsenide#Solar_cells_and_detectors

[4] World Solar Challenge: http://www.wsc.org.au/

[5] University of Michigan’s Solar Car Team: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/University_of_Michigan_Solar_Car_Team

[6] Infinium: http://www.engin.umich.edu/newscenter/feature/solarcar/unveiling09_7/

[7] CAD: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computer-aided_design

[8] Z Corp: http://www.racecar-engineering.com/articles/other/383201/sunrunner-how-z-corp-scanners-built-infinium.html

[9] Popular Science: http://www.popsci.com/cars/article/2009-06/detroits-latest-solar-powered-infinium-unfortunately-cant-be-bought

[10] Chevy Volt: http://www.inhabitat.com/2009/08/12/chevy-volt-jolts-public-debate-with-230mpg-claim/

[11] Continuum: http://www.engin.umich.edu/newscenter/feature/solarcar/

[12] ars technica: http://arstechnica.com/science/news/2009/06/0-to-60-in-full-sunlight-revving-up-for-world-solar-challenge.ars

[13] Designboom: http://www.designboom.com/eng/

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