The University Record, January 11, 1993

Maize & Blue at auto show

Students on the University of Michigan Solar Car Team started their drive toward what they hope will be a second racing victory last week with an appearance at the 1993 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

Tucked into a corner booth at the Cobo Hall Exhibition Center, U-M students displayed a one-quarter-scale model of the team's new solar-powered car, Maize & Blue. Maize & Blue will compete against 35 other solar-powered, student-designed vehicles during Sunrayce 93, a 1,000-mile intercollegiate race from Dallas to Minneapolis scheduled June 20--26.

"The team thought an appearance at the auto show would be a great way to promote Maize & Blue and to educate the public about solar energy," says Beth Riley, a second-year M.B.A. student and the solar car team's public relations director.

To get ready for their auto show appearance, students negotiated an offer of free booth space from show management officials, designed and produced graphics display panels for their booth, and prepared press kits and background materials. On Jan. 7, the team hosted a press conference in their booth for the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory---organizers of Sunrayce 93.

"We've received lots of attention from print, television and radio reporters covering the auto show," Riley says. "It's been a good kickoff event for Sunrayce 93."

According to Riley, the team also plans to enter Maize & Blue in the 1993 World Solar Challenge---a 1,900-mile race across the rugged Australian outback that starts on Nov. 7, 1993.

"Our goal is to win a national championship for the University of Michigan in June and a world championship in November," says Furqan Nazeeri, a senior in aerospace engineering and the team's project manager. "We know we're facing stiff competition and we're working very hard to make Maize & Blue a winner."

Production of Maize & Blue began in September, according to Nazeeri, and now is moving into the final assembly stage. Weighing just 320 pounds, Maize & Blue is lighter and faster than Sunrunner---the U-M car that won first-place in the 1990 GM Sunrayce USA and third-place in the 1990 World Solar Challenge.