You are here: TRANSLOGIC 99: U-M Solar Car Team
Six Seven national titles. A $1.2 million budget. Over 100 students strong. The University of Michigan's solar car team is the largest student group on campus and considered the top in the country. This entirely student-run organization has built 11 solar vehicles over their 23 year history. Do they have what it takes to be the first American team to win Australia's World Solar Challenge in over 2 decades?

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It is apparent that the "as powerful as a hairdryer" reference was improperly used, since there are no over 8,000 wat hairdryers, to my knowledge! A much greater possibility is that he intended to refer to the output power of the SOLAR CELLS on a clear sunny day, possibly about 1,200 watts, or a little less than 2 Horsepower. Undoubtedly, this solar generated energy is stored in a battery bank over many hours, to enable the "12 horsepower" peak enegy, as the vehicle is much too small to mount a solar array capable of over 8,000watts power generation while in motion! (A large CARPORT, perhaps 20 by 40 feet, covered with solar panels, could capature enough energy to be worthwhile in charging an electric vehicle, but to be practical, the energy would be stored in a large, stationary battery during the daytime, and later used to transfer the charge to the vehicle whenever desired.)

August 26 2012 at 8:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Bob's comment

I'm glad that someone else understands what is going on here. This makes me wonder how many people would buy that a hair dryer is 12 HP. It would melt your hair within half a second and cause 1st degree burns in 2 seconds. It is sad that the population in general doesn't grasp the concept of energy or where it comes from. Many of these non-hybrid electric cars are powered by coal in the end.

August 27 2012 at 10:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

all these people complaining about how this money could be better spent are not thinking long term. its little projects like these that bring about innovation that eventually makes it to the mass markets. we wont all be driving solar powered race cars in 10 years, but we may have solar panel equipped hybrids in 5...

August 26 2012 at 5:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to mattp123's comment

Unless, you would like to take along a friend or your family, or maybe would like airconditioning, and the ability to meet crash ratings, etc.

August 26 2012 at 5:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Perhaps you didn't notice. They have been doing this since 1989. The cars have to be absolutely as light as possible. They use absolutely the smallest profile possible. There is no room for anything except one driver, the bare mechanics needed to get the power transffered to the road. They certainly do not use the most cost effective materials. Carbon Fiber is pretty expensive when used in large scale fabrication and hugely expensive to replace or repair. I found it interresting that the Lithium Ion battery had a Warning:Hazardous Chemical sticker on it as well. You never hear that discussed when people rant and rave about cars like the Volt and Leaf.

August 26 2012 at 8:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The problem with turbos and superchargers is, they have to build up to speed before they can add additional power. But, super capacitors can store thousands of amps in less than a minute and deliver it full-strength resulting in a car that leaves a Corvette like it wasn't moving. Is not a theory, I've already tested the circuit in my lab here in Florida.

August 26 2012 at 4:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to alfredschrader's comment

Oddly your theory is semi souind YET capcitors DO wear out and are full of toxic chemicals. Properly designed a turbo will not harm an engine, properly tuned turbos can spool effortlessly and create great power and efficiency. Superchargers do have some parasitic drag YET can also create power and efficiency very easily. Problem is that you can lab test anything, making it profitable AND safe and operable are other things. ever work on electric cars, CATIII level equipment, possible issues with all sorts of things make electric cars a hard sell, The Chevy Volt has had issues and these are designed and tested to meet fed transportation standards. Still they hahad fires, and failures. The car is so expensive that the GOVERNMENT has to give away your tax dollars to sell them.
Tesla has an electric car, $100k a pop and the chassis builder stopped importing them as they no longer meet crash standards. The S sedan isnt looking so promising as yet but hope still abounds.
And as for turbochargers the build on properly setup systems can be seamless. Properly maintained both systems can live for hundreds of thousands of miles. Ask me how Iknow what about them, I build engines using both. Dont get me wrong eventually electric will be usable intown, mostly but hybrids are only long range option AND s till require carefull care and repair. Good luck.

August 26 2012 at 8:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Incorrect on the supercharger my friend. It is a directly driven system. Usually by a belt. It provides power instantly. The drawback is that it robs some horsepower from the engine since it is mechanically driven. You are correct on the turbo charger though.

August 26 2012 at 8:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

"race car is as powerful as a... hairdryer?" "race car produces a mere 12 horepower" i would like to address this post to the retard that wrote this article, no, absolutely no one makes an 8976 watt ( 12 hp )hair dryer

August 26 2012 at 3:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to docmetcalf1955's comment

i was thinking the same thing. but the kid they were talking to in the video said it. still, i think people would got bald with that kind of hairdryer

August 26 2012 at 4:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

1.2 million that could have been used to lower tution so more smart people who just don't have the resources could attend college, A waste just like that 7 million dollar HIGH SCHOOL football stadium in Texas. Yup they sure have thier priorities straight down there. Oh wait thats right they don't want to teach courses just football and how to kill retarded people in the electric chair and beat gay kids up.

August 26 2012 at 3:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

When EV's are cheaper than a comparable Carbon Fueled Combustion engine vehicle, then we will be ready to make the transition to Green Energy. I say that we should make full use of all of our Carbon Energy sources and continue to invest in and perfect Green Energy strategies. Taxing the Rich is a lousy Energy Policy, incentive's are a better approach to develop Green Technology, not throwing Tax dollars at "Solyndra" failures. Political Savvy and wisdom are two different things. Reward success, not volatile pipe dreams. Let entrepreneurs shoulder the risk, but let them reap the rewards of hard work and sweat equity.

August 26 2012 at 3:12 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
R L Baker

Tata motors in India produces a five passenger car, small pickup and small comuter bus that all run on compressed air. Ehaust from thes motors is breathable air.

August 26 2012 at 3:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Can you drive it through Darfur and other 3rd world countries so the starving can be impressed?Maybe a few rounds here in America?Maybe around my block a time or two.

August 26 2012 at 2:38 PM Report abuse -4 rate up rate down Reply

Go Blue!!! Keep the solar side up

August 26 2012 at 2:35 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

A lot of this technology is going to be in regular consumer cars in 10 or so years, if not sooner.

August 26 2012 at 2:31 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply


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