Quantum, the team’s eleventh car, was 200 pounds lighter and 30% more aerodynamic than Infinium. For the first time in the team’s history, two chassis were built in one project cycle. This was achieved by completing the first iteration ahead of schedule and under budget. Quantum was extremely competitive in the World Solar Challenge. Despite some issues that arose during strong crosswinds in the outback, Michigan placed in third once again. After the outstanding performance in Australia, Michigan was eager to bring home a win. They seized the opportunity in the American Solar Challenge by taking a record-breaking fourth consecutive victory and seventh victory overall. Even with severe thunderstorms and triple-digit heat, Quantum finished over 10 hours ahead of second place, breaking the previous record set by Continuum. Both Quantum 1.0 and 2.0 are still looking for new homes.
Infinium built off of the innovation of Continuum, developing a second generation concentrator system. Remembering delays in the previous projects, Infinium rolled with more time for testing before the race than any previous vehicle. Although these strong qualities helped win a National Championship, they weren’t enough to place higher then third in the World Solar Challenge. Infinium placed first in the American Solar Challenge, which made umsolar the first team in the history of the race to win 3 National Championships in a row. It also raced in the World Solar Challenge, and placed 3rd in the world. It will soon be on display in the Detroit Science Center along side its predecessor, Continuum.
The team developed a revolutionary solar concentration system, eventually leading to a patent through a joint venture with Boeing. This gave the team an advantage in power production and further strengthened the spirit of innovation that has led to many improvements for Quantum. It competed in the 2007 World Solar Challenge, finishing in an impressive seventh place after losing a day of racing due to a crash. The following summer, Continuum finished first in the 2008 North American Solar Challenge by the widest margin in the history of the race–over a full day of race time. The team received the Technical Innovation Award for their ground-breaking concentrator system. Contiuum is currently hanging from the ceiling of the Detroit Science Center.
Despite the hardships the 2003 race crew faced, many team members returned in 2005 and led the team to a first place finish in the American Solar Challenge and a third place finish in the World Solar Challenge. Striving to learn from the past without compromising their future performance, they left a permanent reminder to always look ahead and work to improve. The team finished first in the 2005 North American Solar Challenge, the longest solar car race ever held, beating Minnesota for Michigan’s fourth national championship. Momentum also finished third in the 2005 World Solar Challenge, failing to best the hometown Aurora for second place in the final miles of the race. Momentum is currently on display in the lobby of one of our sponsors, Ricardo.
The team ambitiously attempted the University’s first two-person solar car. Pushing the design limits in a tight fundraising environment, the team ultimately struggled to complete the scrutineering required to compete in the race. In addition to ensuring early and robust design trials, teams now also more actively involve alumni throughout the vehicle’s design phases.
The team’s vehicle crashed during testing a mere 17 days before the American Solar Challenge. M-Pulse were able to not only rebuild the car, they ultimately ended up winning the race and going on to place 3rd in the World Solar Challenge. Their persistence in the pursuit of excellence taught all future Michigan Solar Car Teams never to give up. M-Pulse is in the Peterson Auto Museum in LA.
The team built their own array completely in-house, which led to power issues during the Sunrayce. Teams now collaborate thoroughly with industry experts to test their designs and calculations in a robust, professional environment. MaizeBlaze competed in both the 1999 American Solar Challenge and the 1999 World Solar Challenge. The vehicle is on public display at the Boston Museum of Science in Boston, Massachusetts.
The team had a poor qualifying time for the American Solar Challenge due to a faulty solar array. Committed to entering the best possible car, the team completely rebuilt the array in just 1 week, greatly improving their performance in the race. Michigan teams now do extensive system testing before deploying any system on the car. Wolverine is currently on display at the Wilson Student Team Project Center at the University of Michigan College of Engineering, Ann Arbor, Michgian.
The team greatly increased its use of carbon fiber composites to reduce weight. Solar Vision is on display at the Great Lakes Science Center in Cleveland, Ohio.
The team strengthened its ties with the University and industry during the 1993 project, helping it to gain access to state-of-art computer technology. This enabled the entire car to be designed using software, laying the technical foundation for all future teams. After an extra year to raise money and design, this Michigan team appeared poised to better the record of 1990′s Sunrunner. After finishing first in the 1993 SunRayce, Maize & Blue experienced severe problems with their high-powered solar array and finished in eleventh place at the 1993 World Solar Challenge. Maize & Blue is on public display at the Museum of Science & Industry in Chicago, Illinois.
The Michigan Solar Car Team was founded in 1989 by just two students, but they began the tradition of excellence by winning the first American Solar Challenge. More than anything else, it was that first team’s focus on the reliability of the car that led to their victory – a focus that every subsequent Solar Car Team has emphasized. Built only a year before the innaugural 1990 SunRayce, Michigan’s first solar car won the event and went on to place third in the 1990 World Solar Challenge, setting the bar very high for all subsequent teams. Sunrunner is on display at the Henry Ford in Dearborn, Michigan.