Solar lights into automotive news with race

The University of Michigan's sleek photovoltaic enshrouded Infinium has notched the school's sixth win in the 2010 American Solar Challenge.

The news comes on the heels of a flurry of activity in the fossil-fuel-free automotive sector, including Tesla's successful IPO and other announcements on the electric-car front.

The 1,100-mile race stretched from Broken Arrow, Okla. to Naperville, Ill. and encountered traffic, stoplights and all the other delays of an everyday road trip. On June 24, the the University of Michigan team posted this on its blog: "Infinium cruised smoothly into Alton at 1:30PM in first place. The University of Minnesota was on and off our tail all morning; Infinium would pull ahead of them on corners and then get stuck in traffic allowing their car to catch up."

Some 17 teams registered. Teams also came from Canada, Germany and Taiwan for the Challenge. The University of Minnesota placed second and Hochschule Bochum of Germany third.

The race took six days at speeds averaging 40 mph, even though the Infinium reportedly can crank out 100 mph. Michigan finished with a time of 28 hours, 14 minutes and 44 seconds, about two hours ahead of Minnesota.

The San Joaquin Valley Clean Energy Organization is a nonprofit dedicated to improving our region's quality of life by increasing its production and use of clean and alternative energy. The SJVCEO works with cities and counties and public and private organizations to demonstrate the benefits of energy efficiency and renewable energy throughout the eight-county region of the San Joaquin Valley.
Photo: Courtesy American Solar Challenge.