U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
University of Michigan Wins the North American Solar Challenge
July 30, 2008
The University of Michigan Solar Car Team won the North American Solar Challenge by finishing nearly 10 hours ahead of its closest challenger. Enlarge this image.
Credit: University of Calgary
The University of Michigan has successfully defended its title in the
largest solar car race in North America. The 2008 North American Solar
Challenge (NASC) concluded on July 22 in Calgary, Alberta, after 10
days of solar-powered racing from the start in Plano, Texas. The
University of Michigan completed the 2,400-mile race in about 51 hours
and 42 minutes, finishing nearly 10 hours ahead of its closest
competitor and achieving an average speed of about 46 miles per hour.
The Michigan team was now won the NASC (and its previous incarnations)
a total of five times, including the previous running of the race in
2005. This year, 15 university teams entered the race, but two failed
to qualify. The competition included nine U.S. teams from universities
in eight states, as well as four Canadian teams and one team each from
England and Germany. See the University of Michigan press release and
team Web site and the NASC Web site.
This summer's solar racing has a definite theme of returning
champions, rather than the rise of new upstarts, and that theme was
reflected in the nation's top solar race for high school teams, the
Dell-Winston School Solar Car Challenge. The race was held on July 7-10 at
the Texas Motor Speedway in Justin, Texas, and this year, the team
from the Houston Vocational Center in Houston, Mississippi, won the
race for the eighth time in a row. And talk about rubbing it in: the
Houston school actually had two entries—one in the "classic"
division and one in the "open" division—and both teams won first
place in their divisions. The race featured 15 teams from 14 schools,
including five schools in Texas, four in Mississippi, and one each in
Nevada, Colorado, Florida, Connecticut, and New York. Next year, the
race will take to the road again, with a route that runs from Texas to
Colorado. See the race results on the
Dell-Winston School Solar Car Challenge Web site.