This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

July 27, 2005

Michigan Takes Narrow Lead in North American Solar Challenge

Photo of a low, flat vehicle, its top covered in solar cells, pulling onto the road with a crowd and the Manitoba Legislative Building in the background.

The University of Minnesota's solar car hits the road in Manitoba on July 24th. Minnesota has led the race most of the time, but has twice lost the lead to the University of Michigan.
Credit: Stefano Paltera/North American Solar Challenge

The University of Michigan holds a narrow lead over the University of Minnesota and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as the much-anticipated final stage of the North American Solar Challenge gets underway on July 27th. The 2,500-mile solar car race started on July 17th in Austin, Texas, and will end on July 27th in Calgary, Alberta. Eighteen solar cars remain in the race, which is sponsored by DOE, DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and Natural Resources Canada. According to DOE's Richard King, the race has highlighted all aspects of solar racing: early in the race, rainy weather challenged teams on several days; on some sunny days, the only thing holding back the leaders was the speed limit; on July 24th, a strong head wind favored the most aerodynamic cars; and on July 25th (and July 26th, for some teams) the uphill climb to Medicine Hat, Alberta, favored the lightest cars. See Monday's press release (PDF 90 KB) and King's "Reports from the Road." Download Adobe Reader.

On July 27th, the solar cars are racing from Medicine Hat to Calgary, a one-day, 188-mile race to determine the winner. The race is very much up for grabs, and you can track it online using the race's GPS tracking system. See the GPS tracking page and check later for the official results.