University of Minnesota solar car takes second in American Solar Challenge

MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL (06/28/2010) --The University of Minnesota Solar Vehicle Project team finished second overall and took home two additional awards over the weekend in the 2010 American Solar Challenge, a seven-day, 1,100-mile race from Tulsa, Okla., to Chicago, Ill., June 19-26. The team, made up of students from the university's Institute of Technology (College of Science and Engineering), finished with a total elapsed time of 30 hours, 26 minutes and 53 seconds.

The University of Minnesota won the sportsmanship award for the third consecutive time. They won the same award at the 2005 and 2008 solar car races. In addition, the University of Minnesota team won the electrical excellence award for the car's reliable and well-designed electrical and electronic system.

In the track race prior to the cross-country race, the University of Minnesota team finished in third, but tied with Stanford University for the fastest lap at two minutes, five seconds.


"We are very proud of our car's custom electronics and our spirit of helping other teams throughout the race," said Alan Jacobs, a senior materials science and physics double major. "It's amazing to us that we had such a great race since this is the first time we've raced this car. Most of the other top-finishing teams were able to work out problems with their new cars during races in 2009."

The University of Minnesota was one of 17 teams from the United States, Canada, Germany and Taiwan competing in designing, building and driving a car completely powered by the sun. The University of Minnesota's car, named Centaurus II, is a completely new generation design from the university's previous eight solar vehicles.

About 30 students collectively spent more than 50,000 hours during the last year planning and building the solar car. Materials for the U of M's solar car were funded through cash donations and in-kind donations of parts and materials.

For more details about the race, visit the American Solar Challenge website at
June 28, 2010