ANN ARBOR – The University of Michigan Solar Car Team unveiled their new solar car, “Aevum,” on June 10 in the Michigan Union’s ballroom to project sponsors and representatives from the automotive and solar industries.
The biannual Bridgestone World Solar Challenge was canceled in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and travel restrictions to host country Australia.
The team designed Aevum to meet the 2021 race specs and hope to improve their vehicle design before the race in 2023.
A new requirement for the race is for the vehicle to accommodate a 6′4′' mannequin in the driver’s seat. The race also banned gallium arsenide solar cells in favor of silicon cells, which are more environmentally friendly. In addition, the team has adopted a streamlined shape for the vehicle to increase the surface area for solar cells.
“After our analysis, we felt that this style of vehicle was most competitive despite that slight increase in vehicle size, and our engineers worked hard to minimize the increase in drag,” project manager of the Solar Car Team and a rising junior in mechanical engineering Joseph Harrington said in a statement.
He added that the project was delayed due to the team having to design remotely and due to part shortages.
“This is the first and only car we’ve designed entirely remotely,” the team’s engineering director and a rising junior in electrical engineering Terry Li said in a release. “That’s created some issues with systems integration, but we tackled those successfully so far and things are looking up.”
Aevum is now an experimental vehicle and will not compete in the World Solar Challenge, according to a release. It is the Michigan Solar Car Team’s 16th design since it was founded in 1989.
The team has had podium finishes in the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge seven times, has won the American Solar Challenge nine times and won the 2015 Abu Dhabi Solar Challenge.
It is comprised of more than 100 students across campus from various colleges and schools, making it one of U-M’s largest student organizations.