|Team captain and race manager Nader Shwayhat spoke at the ceremony.|
Called M-Pulse, the car is part of a worldwide challenge to highlight alternative energy sources and build vehicles that run solely on solar energy. As the U-Ms sixth-generation vehicle, M-Pulse draws on work by students since the Universitys first effort in 1989. That car, the Sunrunner, won the General Motors Corp.-sponsored Sunrayce Competition in 1990 and took third place overall in the 1990 World Solar Car Challenge in Australia.
This years vehicle represents two years of effort by a multidisciplinary team of students from the College of Engineering, the School of Business Administration, and the School of Art and Design. The project also receives support and technical assistance from more than 100 companies, including Ford Motor Co., Honeywell and Lockheed Martin.
Driven by the two-year competition cycle, the team has redesigned its 1999 car from scratch. M-Pulse should outperform U-Ms 1999 car with an estimated top speed of 80 mph and accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 12 seconds, creating zero emissions.
|The solar car team posed by M-Pulse at the April 11 unveiling ceremony. Photos by Martin Vloet, U-M Photo Services|
Approximately 150 students work on the cars development, averaging a combined 200 hours per week on the vehicle during the school year and 1,500 hours during vacation periods.
The teams first race will be the closed-course Formula Sun Grand Prix competition in May in Topeka, Kan. The team then will compete in the American Solar Car Challenge in July, which is a 2,200-mile open-road race from Chicago to Los Angeles. Finally, in November, the team will take M-Pulse to the premier solar car event, the World Solar Challenge in Australia, which spans 1,800 miles from Darwin to Adelaide.