Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

University of Michigan Solar Car Wins Fifth Straight National Title

Soulskill posted about 2 months ago | from the hail-to-the-victors dept.

Transportation 25

An anonymous reader writes For the fifth consecutive year, the solar car team from the University of Michigan has won the American Solar Car Challenge. The event is an eight-day, 1,700-mile race with a total of 23 participating teams. The Umich victory comes in spite of a 20-30 minute delay when they had problems with the motor at the very beginning of the race. "They made the time up when team strategists decided to push the car to the speed limit while the sun was shining bright, rather than hold back to conserve energy." Footage of the race and daily updates on the car's performance are available from the team's website, as are the specs of the car itself. Notably, the current iteration of the car weighs only 320 pounds, a full 200 pounds lighter than the previous version.

cancel ×

25 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

the gayest race (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47562801)

is the gay nigger race!

Re:the gayest race (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47563283)

It's not just gay, it's quite niggery too.

Michigan (1)

jep77 (1357465) | about 2 months ago | (#47562803)

That's close to Detroit, right?

Re:Michigan (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47562851)

Tuesday night, Detroit city council members were seen on the streets with suitcases full of deeds, desperately trying to sell the city piecemeal to Canadian tourists.

Re:Michigan (1)

NotDrWho (3543773) | about 2 months ago | (#47564961)

Anyone remember that this was the humorous subplot of the otherwise godawful Robocop 2? The city of Detroit had went bankrupt and the mayor was holding a pathetic telethon to try to raise money to save the city from being bought outright by OCP. Today's joke becomes tomorrow's reality, I guess.

Re:Michigan (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47563341)

More proof that Detroit has the best electric car technology but doesn't want to sell it to the public because they're in bed with the oil companies.

Re:Michigan (1)

NotDrWho (3543773) | about 2 months ago | (#47565027)

Detroit doesn't like change. But, then again, neither do most of its customers.

A little bit of an unfair advantage? (1)

MyDirtIsRed (2882529) | about 2 months ago | (#47562809)

'Major sponsors include Ford, General Motors, IMRA, Michigan Engineering, NYK, Qatar Airways and Siemens PLM Software.'

Watch out for future recalls though...

And Qatar Airways?

Perfectly fair (2)

sjbe (173966) | about 2 months ago | (#47564625)

'Major sponsors include Ford, General Motors, IMRA, Michigan Engineering, NYK, Qatar Airways and Siemens PLM Software.'

Why is that unfair? Other teams are permitted to get sponsors. It's their problem if they can't recruit good sponsors. Plus most of those companies hire Michigan engineering graduates so why wouldn't they sponsor the students they are likely to hire?

Re:Perfectly fair (1)

MyDirtIsRed (2882529) | about 2 months ago | (#47564685)

I don't besmirch them at all for taking advantage of their local resources. Maybe oughta tell the kids though to leave their bottle openers off of their keychains; wouldn't want their car to suddenly turn off for reasons other than "it's cloudy".

Re:Perfectly fair (1)

Enigma2175 (179646) | about 2 months ago | (#47568265)

'Major sponsors include Ford, General Motors, IMRA, Michigan Engineering, NYK, Qatar Airways and Siemens PLM Software.'

Why is that unfair? Other teams are permitted to get sponsors. It's their problem if they can't recruit good sponsors. Plus most of those companies hire Michigan engineering graduates so why wouldn't they sponsor the students they are likely to hire?

Sure, I think they should be able to get as much money as they want from sponsors. However, the article made it sound like they were getting engineering help from their sponsors. This is supposed to be a student competition, not a professional contest. In this case, the team that won didn't even build their car, they just drove a car built by previous students and sponsors. I guess they drove it competently, but in an engineering competition I would like to see more engineering on the part of the participants.

Re:Perfectly fair (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47570249)

They get some expertise from the the sponsors but more of what they get is donation of money, parts, and services e.g. wind tunnel time, tires, carbon fiber etc. The design and fabrication is done completely by the students. In addition race strategy is and systems programming is a huge part of the project. The design and fabrication of each car takes about 2 years and of course their is a tremendous amount pulled from prior designs of their car as well as their competitors to inform the next design.

GO BUCKS!!! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47562827)

lolurcarsux

Pushed the Car during Max Sunlight (1)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 2 months ago | (#47562837)

Sounds like NASCAR strategy right there, I don't care who you are.

Been there.. Seen that - in 1990 (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47563011)

Only 320 pounds? That's a pretty dramatic improvement, but then the UMich solar car team has always had some pretty deep-pocket backers. It is a shame that most of the teams have gone to the three-wheel trike and pancake design - basically copying the Honda and Swiss teams from the 1990 World Solar Challenge. The old "tadpole truck" design UMich used to have was pretty impressive.

How about... (1)

justthinkit (954982) | about 2 months ago | (#47563111)

As cool as these cars are, they are starting to all look alike.

How about this? Add a rule that they have to have, say, 50 cubic feet of storage inside the car (in addition to the driver).

Re:How about... (3, Insightful)

Harlequin80 (1671040) | about 2 months ago | (#47563811)

Then they would all look alike but with 50 cubic feet of storage.

That is the problem with any engineering challenge where the conditions of a test are repeated over and over. Everyone will naturally move towards the same design as, without a major technological break through, that design is the most efficient concept.

It is the major reason I hate the direction motorcycle racing is going. By bringing in more rules about what is and isn't allowed they are reducing the possible solutions.

Re:How about... (1)

_Ludwig (86077) | about 2 months ago | (#47564211)

What type of motorcycle racing? Can you elaborate? (I don’t know much about it but I’ve been getting curious. Is it like the increasingly arcane F1 restrictions expressly designed to keep speeds down on tracks designed for slower cars?)

F1 (1)

justthinkit (954982) | about 2 months ago | (#47565259)

The new F1 regs are about a lot more than "slowing things down". They have gone from a 750 hp engine to a 600 hp one PLUS "Energy Recovery System" [formula1.com] . This is exactly the kind of innovation that makes sense.

The latest high-end sports cars use exactly this sort of hybrid setup, so it is completely logical that the traditional racetrack-consumer synergy be continued with this change.

In this sense, F1 is adapting and remaining meaningful (to high end cars), where the electric plywood-on-wheels cars are increasingly meaningless.

Re:How about... (1)

Harlequin80 (1671040) | about 2 months ago | (#47566249)

MotoGP and World SuperBike. The rules aren't really designed to slow the bikes down. It was supposedly to keep the costs down but that hasn't happened. It has had the effect of pushing a lot of the development into materials.

Recent motogp changes that I don't like include:
Control tyres - you used to have michelin, dunlop and bridgestone developing tyres to suit the characterestics of a particular bike. Because the tyres had different wear characteristics you saw different tyres perform better on different tracks. They went all Bridgestone first and are going all Michelin in 2016.
Engine design - the requirement that the engines not be over square (ie the cylinder bore must not exceed the piston stroke). This basically acts as a rev limiter without going to crazy expensive materials. It also means that in some aspects the engines are behind modern road bikes as several road bikes have over square engines as they produce higher top power
Fuel limits - the fuel limits have been going down over time. This has the effect of capping power output across a race. It means you have to design a bike to carry more speed all the time. It actually makes the motogp act more like the smaller classes where corner speed is king. Go back to the 500cc 2 stroke era and you had bikes that sacrificed handling for crazy power. What they lost in the corners they made up in the straights (see screamer vs big bang engine design in the Honda NSR 500 for an example internal to one manufacturer)

To be fair though there have been some huge jumps in electronics. Things like the way the Honda cuts the ignition on upshifts so that the power of the engine doesn't cause micro spins of the back wheel giving them a couple of 10ths a lap was very cool. The launch control technology is also amazing (if you want to see what happens when you think your traction control is on when it is not search for Lorenzo practice highside)

The big problem going forward is that the owners of MotoGP have managed to acquire the rights to WSBK and the first thing they have done is dumb down the bikes so there is a bigger gap between the motogp and the WSBK.

Designs converge on optimums (1)

sjbe (173966) | about 2 months ago | (#47564557)

As cool as these cars are, they are starting to all look alike.

Physics is a harsh mistress. They tend to look a lot alike because physics combined with the rules of the contest will generally force the designs towards an optimum. In other words they are going to tend to converge on the same general design over time.

Then change the design yearly (2)

justthinkit (954982) | about 2 months ago | (#47564751)

Then change the design yearly. Each year have a useful new goal -- motors can only weigh so much, vehicle must be able to seat 4 upright, bonus points for gizmos.

These solar cars have been "a piece of wood with 4 tiny wheels" for a decade or more.

Have them tow a trailer one year, or hill climb, or drive through mud (run the race through the south). Speaking of hill climb -- have a Pike's Peak race.

Re:Then change the design yearly (1)

Harlequin80 (1671040) | about 2 months ago | (#47570741)

They have been the same physical layout but their aerodynamic profile isn't what this competition is designed to challenge. What they want to challenge is the electrical system. How much power can your cells generate, how efficiently can you transfer that power to your motor, how versatile is the motor and how well can you store that power for when the sun isn't as bright.

These aspects have continued to develop every year.

http://www.alharaj-alalmi.com/ (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47563049)

UU Ã(TM)ÃÃ(TM)SÃ(TM)f ÃÃ(TM)SÃà ± Ã(TM) ÃÃ(TM) ÃÃ(TM)Ãà ± ± OO USO ÃÃ(TM)SÃÃ(TM)à أÙØÙ ... Ã(TM)fÃ(TM)Ã(TM)f ÃÃ(TM)ÃÃÃ(TM)ÃÃ(TM) UUS ÃÃ(TM)Ãà ± OO ÃÃ(TM)ÃÃÃ(TM)Ã(TM) ... Ã(TM) ... ÃÃÃ(TM)à ØÙØ ÃÃÃ(TM)Ã(TM) Ã(TM)ÃÃà ± à ± OO Ã(TM)SÃ(TM)à © Ã(TM)Ã(TM)ÃÃÃ(TM)ÃÃ(TM)

à ± OOO ÃÃ(TM)Ã(TM) ... Ã(TM)Ã(TM)Ã
http://www.alharaj-alalmi.com/

Go Blue! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47563261)

As a current EE major a Michigan, Go Blue!

Check for New Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?