The University of Michigan just announced that its 2013 World Solar Challenge vehicle will look more like a regular car than any of its past cars. Called “Generation,” the new vehicle will buck the three-wheeled design of its predecessor and add a fourth wheel and an upright seat. Although it will still be a far cry from normal cars, the national champ’s 2013 vehicle is anticipated to keep team UM in the running for the number one slot in the Solar Challenge.

Aside from a variance in design, this year’s UM solar car will also take on a new naming system, shedding the “um” suffix of cars past (such as the Continuum, Infinium and Quantum). Generation will be the team’s twelfth vehicle in the World Solar Challenge, and it was named to honor the team members who secured five wins in the competition since 1990. The new design heralds the innovation of new team members, and it’s also the result of new regulations by the Solar Challenge rulemasters.

Running off of a battery charged by sunlight, Generation will sport a super lightweight carbon fiber body with a 98 percent efficient motor – all features that the team thinks will find their way into commercial cars over the next ten years. The University of Michigan announced its plans today at South by Southwest, and they plan to unveil the actual car in June. The 2013 World Solar Challenge will take place from October 6 to 13 in Darwin, Australia.

+ UM Solar

Via Phys Org