The American automotive industry may no longer be centralized in the Detroit area, but Michigan is still the place to turn for innovative car design. Case in point: the University of Michigan Solar Car Team, which just won the American Solar Challenge for the sixth time (and the third consecutive time). The team, which won its first Solar Challenge in 1990 with the Sunrunner vehicle, finished two hours ahead of its closest competitor in the most recent 1,100 mile race.
This year’s winning vehicle, dubbed the Infinium, averaged 40 mph during the race (it obeyed speed limits), but reached 100 mph in testing, making it the fastest University of Michigan solar vehicle ever.
The Infinium’s final time in the race was 28 hours, 14 minutes and 44 seconds–impressive considering that rain shorted out one of the car’s lighting boards during the race. Second place went to the University of Minnesota’s vehicle, which clocked in at 30 hours, 26 minutes and 53 seconds.
Solar-powered cars aren’t yet practical for mainstream use, but we can’t help but wonder–when will U of M start marketing this thing?