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June 08, 2009 - Image 2

Resource type:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2009-06-08

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Monday, June 8, 2009
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

New solar car a stellar success

'U'Infinium is ready to
outshine competitors
across the world
For the Daily
More than 300 fans, sponsors
and Michigan residents packed
into the Henry Ford Museum in
Dearborn on Friday afternoon for
the unveiling of the University
Solar Car Team's latest vehicle:
The Solar Car Team is a student
group that has funded and con-
structed its own solar-powered car
for national and international races
since 1990. It is comprised of 24
undergraduate and graduate stu-
dents throughout various Univer-
sity schools.
The University's team is among
the elite, winning five of the past
nine North American Solar Chal-
lenge races - a solar car event that
pits various American and Cana-
dian universities in a race across
North America.
Jeffrey Ferman, a University
alum and a former member of the
Solar Car Team alum, said he went
to the unveiling because of his belief
in the team's potential.
"They're closer than a lot of the
teams that I've been on in the past,
and this is still months away from
the race," Ferman said.
During the hour-long presenta-

tion, team members, faculty and
supporters of the Solar Car Team
talked about the team's history, its
significance for the University and
the hours of work the team put into
Infinium, for which production
began in fall of 2007.
College of Engineering senior
Alex Dowling, head strategist for the
team, said the design philosophy for
Infinium was drawn from scratch
but incorporated improvements fro
its predecessor, Continuum.
"Our team prides ourselves onthe
fact that we always redesign," Dowl-
ing said. "We take-lessons learned
from the previous teams, but there's
always a redesign process."
Dowling said Infinium is one of
the best cars the Solar Car Team has
ever produced. In addition to reduc-
ing the car's weight and making the
body more aerodynamic, the team
enabled Infinium to travel more
than 200 miles without sunlight.
College of Engineering senior
John Federspiel, the team's crew
chief, said one of the team's major
goals was to finish Infinium as early
as possible - something the team
was able to accomplish.
The team finished Infinium one
month earlier than it took to com-
plete Continuum, and unlike its
predecessor, Infinium was already
drivable at the unveiling.
Both Dowling and Federspiel
attributed much of the team's cur-
rentsuccesstothe members' healthy
work dynamic.
Federspielsaid members fromthe

team's sub-departments were will-
ing to work numerous late nights in
order to finish Infinium.
"We've really bonded well as a
leadership body, and we've learned
from the dynamic conflicts we've
had in the past," Federspiel said.
"Everyone respected each other,
(but) we mightnot have understood
each other's work, and now I think
there's been a good effort and a
strong effort to try and understand
what everyone does."
Despite the Solar Car Team's
progress, the team still had its work
cut out for it. Currently, the team is
preparing Infinium for the Global
Green Challenge in October.
During the six-day challenge the
Solar Car Team will race against 50

other teams from around the world
on an 1,800-mile course across the
Australian outback.
The team plans to test Infinium
through a variety of different sim-
ulations - including a mock race
- during the summer to prepare
before its shipment to Australia in
Federspiel said the team is con-
fident the car will do well in the
upcoming race.
"Based on the numbers that we've
seen (and) based on some of the new
innovations that we've (added) on
(to) this car, I think we definitely are
a top competitor," he said. "I can't
say first or anything like that, obvi-
ously, but I know we'll be one of the
favorites going in."

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Infinium is
lighterand more
than Continuum

Infinium can go motor peaks at
more than 98-percent
200 miles efficiency
without sunlight

It took the team
one month less to-
finish Infinium than it
did to finish its

Infinium isthe
tenth car the team
has produced

Students onthe
team manage
everything from
funding and
promotion to
building the car

Tiffany Lin

DisplaySales Manager

David Goh Online Sales Manager
Robert Abb Layout/ProductionManager
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