Monday, July 28, 2008
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
From Page 1
for almost the entire race, trailing
only on the first day of driving when
it had to stop to fix a minor electri-
cal problem. But that 20-minute stop
was the only stop the team made for
repairs, which team members said
was one reason they did so well.
"Reliability is one of the key
things," said Engineering senior
Steve Hechtman, Michigan's proj-
"As they get more miles, teams
start to get more problems with the
car," said Hechtman, who was also
one of Continuum's drivers. "Once
we left Fargo we just started pull-
ingaway from the other teams," he
said, referring to the required stop
all the cars made in Fargo, N.D.
NASC organizer Dan Eberle said
building a reliable car is "the first cri-
teria" for a successful solar car team.
"There's two things that really
make a team," he said. "One is
they're very well-organized. Two
is that they've been able to stay on
the road," he said, discussing Con-
Eberlesaidhe was stillsurprised
how far ahead of the field Michi-
gan was. He noted that Michigan
uses gallium arsenide photovoltaic
cells on the car, which can provide
almost 50 percent more power
than silicon cells but are nearly
twice as expensive.
"The people who came in first
are the people with the high-perfor-
mance cells," Eberle said.
Luke Martz, director of fund-
raising for Iowa State University's
PrISUm Solar Car Team, said he
thought the different cell types
teams used had a major impact on
the race. PrISUm, which placed
eighth, uses silicon cells.
"There's not anything that I hold
against any other teams that did use
gallium cells," he said. "But it's like
apples and oranges."
Darshni Pillay, operations man-
ager for the University of Calgary
Solar Car Team, said she didn't
think the gallium cells provided a
significant advantage. Her team,
which uses the more expensive
cells, came in sixth.
"I really don't think that would
have been a deciding factor," she
said. She said the regulation on the
surface area of the cells negated
most of their advantage.
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