The University of Michigan 2012 solar car “Quantum” will be on display at the upcoming Michigan Growth Capital Symposium May 21-22. Quantum is the 11th car built by the University of Michigan Solar Car Team, comprised of more than 100 University of Michigan students from many different backgrounds, disciplines and colleges within the university, ranging from undergraduate to doctoral studies.
“Contrary to popular belief, it’s actually for students across the university,” said Ian Sullivan, UM student and Team Public Relations Director. “It’s a really cool way for students to collaborate and build a world class solar car.”
Founded in 1989, the team has won seven national championships in the American Solar Challenge, and placed in the top three in five World Solar Challenges. It is recognized as the most successful team in North America.
Currently the team is preparing for this year’s World Solar Challenge, to be held October 6-13. In that race, its newest car “Generation” will travel 3,000 kilometers across the Australian Outback. Once the team has completed that challenge, it will begin creating a new solar car for the American Solar Challenge, where students drive their solar cars across 1,200 to 1,800 miles spanning multiple cities and states.
It takes about two years to build a new car, and Sullivan and his team are responsible for gaining media exposure and sponsorships. “It’s very expensive to build a solar car. We are completely student run, with no faculty advisors, so we are responsible for raising the money for our budget,” he said. Most recently, Quantum was displayed at the South by Southwest Interactive Festival in Austin, TX, for media exposure and potential sponsorships.