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University of Michigan wins the great solar car race

The University of Michigan's solar car won the American Solar Challenge, a cross-country race for solar-powered vehicles sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory, EDS, and Terion

M-Pulse, University of Michigan's solar car. (Photo courtesy of the University of Michigan' solar car team photographers)

August 6—The University of Michigan's solar car, M-Pulse, cruised to victory in the American Solar Challenge on July 25, crossing the finish line at 11:37 a.m., after traveling 2,300 miles using only the energy of the sun.

Michigan's car made the trip from Chicago to the Los Angeles area in a total elapsed time of 56 hours, 10 minutes, and 46 seconds, for an average speed of 40 mph.

The University of Missouri at Rolla placed second in the Challenge with a total time of 57 hours, 30 minutes, and 52 seconds. University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, finished third with 62 hours and 18 seconds.

"The fact that we came in first is unbelievable," said Nader Shwayhat, Michigan's team captain. "Three weeks before the race, we crashed our car and had to work 24 hours a day to get it ready. But we just took it one day at a time, and here we are."

The American Solar Challenge (ASC) is an educational sporting event in which university teams, companies and clubs from around the world competed to build and race solar-powered cars across the country from Chicago following what remains of Route 66 through Illinois, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California.

It is the longest solar car race in the world.

The U.S. Department of Energy is committed to researching and developing clean and cost-effective energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies and maintaining America's technological competitiveness and energy security. The Department's science and technology agenda complements private sector research and development efforts by investing in areas that promise long-term energy, economic, and environmental benefits. NREL is DOE's premier laboratory for renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development.

ASC's mission is to advance renewable energy and electric vehicle technologies, promote educational and engineering excellence, encourage environmental consciousness and teach teamwork. The race provides hands-on experience for students, allowing them to build their technical skills for the 21st century marketplace.

What's next? The 6th World Solar Challenge in Australia begins November 18 through 28, 2001, along the northern shores of Australia in Darwin and races through the heart of the Outback to the southern shores of Adelaide. Both the ASC and the World Solar Challenge are international competitions open to any corporate, collegiate, or private teams, focusing some of the brightest student minds in the world on the power of the future.



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