Congratulations to the Winners of the American Solar Challenge

Phil Kinnane August 6, 2012
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Did you hear that the University of Michigan’s team won the American Solar Challenge a couple of weeks ago? Back in January of this year, I blogged about how the University of Michigan team refined their solar car design and now it’s great to see them come in first in the Solar Challenge. They finished the eight-day trip ten hours ahead of the runner-up, Iowa State. This win resonates with us at COMSOL as well actually, because they used COMSOL Multiphysics to model the batteries for their car.

In my previous blog post, I had mentioned that the inaugural Solar Challenge winning title was taken home by GM with Ford coming in second. Yet these days, it seems to be university teams that are the main competitors — and indeed winners of these competitions. Does this mean that companies and industry powerhouses in general have gone off solar cells?

I don’t have the answer to that question, but over the weekend I was listening to an old NPR On Point special about the environment. In the discussion, it was mentioned that during one week of this year, over 50% of the power used in the entire country of Germany came from renewable sources; of which half came from solar cells. As a matter of fact, over 25% of the power used by Germany on average per day is coming from renewables.

So maybe solar cells will become an important part of our life and even of our cars. And maybe the future winners of the Solar Challenge will transition back from Ann Arbor to Detroit, Michigan.


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