The American Solar Car Story

Written by Peter Tran

August 4, 2017

The purpose of this article is to address the technological innovation brought by the Michigan Car team to the auto industry. This project was successfully tackled by a small group of one hundred Michigan’s brightest students and their 300 sponsors.

Recently, I went to the 2010 Detroit Auto Show. It was awesome! So much glamour and so many vehicles to choose from. But, in this article I am not going to talk about the automakers and their vehicles… I will be discussing about one vehicle that was pioneered twenty years ago and had a tremendous response in support from its sponsors and its students from University of Michigan. Yes, it’s about the UM school’s tenth generation of its car named “Infinium”. What a remarkable vehicle! Its team mission succeeded. The Car team won several racing aw in two competitions, national and international.

One of the ng team members, a sophomore student told me how proud he was about the entire team accomplishments, a wide array of leading edge technologies and many team innovations.

car racing at Michigan celebrated its 20th year of existence. What an accomplishment!

The car team won most of the North American Championship, five out of nine times. At the World Championship contest finished 3rd, three times. That’s a great performance.

It all started twenty years ago when a group of Michigan passionate students won the GM Sunrayce. The Sunrunner 1990 car took the first place GM Sunrayce and 3rd place World challenge.

The advances in battery technologies used in the vehicle had helped the breakthrough in the hybrids. Its carbon fiber composite body shared similar usage on Grand Prix race cars and commercial aircraft.

Regenerative braking systems had been used since 1989 and implemented in hybrid vehicles since.
Advances in cells and collector systems were commonly used in large power plants.

The main components of the Michigan car were:
carbon fiber composite body and chassis
electric motor
custom build suspension
low friction wheels
collector (concentrator) system

For car enthusiasts the Continuum 2007 car specifications are listed below:

weight (wo driver) – 475 lbs (215 kg)
size – 16.4 ft x 5.9 ft (5 m x 1.8 m
top speed – 87 mph (140 kmh)
max torque – 37 lb-ft (50.2 N-m)
nominal power output – 2.5 hp
max. power output – 12.3 hp
max. array output – 1900 watt
fuel type – sun
batteries – 30 kg (lithium polymer)
fuel economy – infinite

A few words about the vehicle races.

The World Challenge was founded by Hans Tholstrup in 1987. It takes place in Australia and starts in the North of Australia at Darwin and ends up in the South in Adelaide, about 1800 miles race. Race results: 3 third place finishes. The North American Challenge race was founded by GM in 1989. Its length from start to finish is 2500 miles. The race itinerary starts in Dallas, Texas and ends in Calgary, Alberta. Race results: 5 National Championships.

Michigan Car Team organization is comprised of 4 units: engineering, business, operations and strategy. Car team budget expenses of $2,600,000 included the cost of: vehicle, strategy, business, operational and logistics.

Media companies that covered the car team are: ABC, Boston Globe, CBS, CNN, Discovery Channel, ESPN, New York Times, MSNBC, Popular s, USA Today.

Car team is continuously seeking sponsors and donations. As part of the non-profit University of Michigan, the Car Team is a 501(c)3 organization. All donations are eligible for tax exemptions, whether cash and in-kind donations of materials and select services.
Car Donors and Sponsorship Levels are listed below:
1. Platinum (0,000 or more, at least $25,000 cash)
2. Gold ($25,000 to $99,999, at least $5,000 cash)
3. Silver (,000 to $24,999)
4. Bronze ($2,500 to $9,999)
5. Crew (under $2,500)

Car team is a legacy of excellence. List of past Michigan Cars Names, Model Year and Aw won:
Sunrunner 1990, 1st place GM Sunrayce, 3rd place World Challenge,

Vision 1995,
Wolverine 1997,
Maize Blaze 1999,
M-Pulse 2001, 1st place American Challenge, 3rd place World Challenge,
Spectrum 2003,
Momentum 2005, 1st place American Challenge, 3rd place World Challenge,
Continuum 2007, 1st place American Challenge,
Infinium ,

Car team is a perfect example of green technology put to work. The car is a shining proof in promoting alternative energy sources and developing advanced technologies. It enables the team to expand our public outreach.

The North American International Auto Show in Detroit unveiled the potential and capabilities of , electric and hybrid vehicles to a diverse audience. The future looks bright! For more info visit:

[] is a website where the authors promote the Big3 automakers. Our core of believes are listed below:

1. Improve public image about our domestic automakers. After all, all are using similar components and the same OEM supplier’s base.

2. Address the need for corporate culture change, sadly experienced by the BIG 3 automakers.

3. Lessen the office ’ playground which is still crippling the decision making and the employees’ morale.

4. Engage the “media buzz” and convince it to take interest in the automakers’ positive efforts to improve their customer perception.

5. Voice our site opinions to create public support and confidence in the local auto manufacturers and suppliers.

6. Spark a communication channel around this website and get feedback using blogs, posts, image or video.

7. Post articles to convince our politicians at the local and federal level to address the unfair global free trade policies and the foreign strict regulations of Japan, , and others.

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