Kevin Lee

University of Michigan's Generation Solar Car to Compete in 1800-Mile World Solar Challenge

by , 10/01/13

Bridgestone World Solar Challenge, solar powered cars, races, University of Michigan, Generation, Photovoltalics, energy management, green energy, solar cells, solar panels, news, green technology

The University of Michigan’s (U-M) solar car, called the Generation, is a strange beast. A curved, asymmetrically lopsided vehicle that looks more like a motorcycle with a sidecar, the car’s solar panel makes it look like a solar flying carpet on wheels. Even so, the design team is convinced that the Generation is exceptionally well poised to finally win this year’s Bridgestone World Solar Challenge – a weeklong, 1,800 mile endurance race for solar-powered cars.

Bridgestone World Solar Challenge, solar powered cars, races, University of Michigan, Generation, Photovoltalics, energy management, green energy, solar cells, solar panels, news, green technology

The Generation is the latest solar car the U-M team has created in the long tradition of solar races. The car weighs less than 600 pounds and has a lithium-ion battery. Other than the driver’s seat and wheels, the whole vehicle is essentially a flat sheet that hovers high off the ground giving the car a leaner underbelly and a more aerodynamic silhouette.

For the past quarter century, the U-M team has participated in the World Solar Challenge only to come up short with five third place wins. But with new regulations to build a four-wheel vehicle and a more upright driver, Eric Hausman, team project manager, believes that the U-M team has come up with the optimal aerodynamic and engineering design that will finally deliver the gold trophy they’ve been chasing for so long.

The World Solar Challenge is a biannual competition that pits 26 teams against each other in an endurance race of sun-beating sweat, sheer determination, and good energy management. In the afternoon of October 5, 2013, solar car drivers will begin their weeklong PV-fueled 1,800 mile trek across a desert in the Australian outback.

via Physorg and University of Michigan

Images © University of Michigan Solar Car Team

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