Solar Car, something we can still make fun of Sparty for

Submitted by TTUwolverine on February 15th, 2010 at 11:33 PM

In case you weren't aware, U of M finished 3rd in the World Solar Challenge this year, and MSU, well, didn't. Gotta take your shots where you can get them.

Comments

Tater

February 15th, 2010 at 11:41 PM ^

The UM solar car looks as much better than Sparty's as the football helmets do. Unless you can't see well, it's just another reason that it sucks to be Sparty.

TTUwolverine

February 16th, 2010 at 12:11 AM ^

You whore yourself out to anyone that will sponsor you because its the only way you have a chance to build a competitive car on the WSC stage. You can have a small budget and brilliant engineers, but if you're running cheap solar cells and heavy materials you don't have a chance. Likewise, running with expensive cells, a carbon fiber hull and a lot of corporate stickers means nothing if you're catching more wind than a sail. You've got to have both, and Michigan does.

formerlyanonymous

February 16th, 2010 at 1:23 AM ^

No worries. I just thought it was pretty Ricky Bobby with not being able to say no to a sponsor. I'm well aware of how such engineering contest work. I was in Minneapolis, staying at their Solar Car guru's house one weekend for work. He'd give me crap about going to Michigan and then I'd reply that he has no chance against our solar car team. Kept him in check really well.

TTUwolverine

February 16th, 2010 at 2:34 AM ^

Hah, well, within reason obviously. I'm pretty sure they would reject a sponsorship from Viagra (although I bet Applebee's is fair game). As for Minnesota, they are typically very competitive in the North American race, and generally cool guys from my experiences. They gave Michigan a run for their money in 2005 (lost by 10 minutes IIRC), but they had a lot of electrical issues in 2008. Really though, Michigan is far and away the most dominant team in North America, and a lot of other teams are very frustrated with the amount of resources Michigan has available to them. It helps to have such close ties with the Detroit automakers.

Mr. Robot

February 16th, 2010 at 1:20 AM ^

But alas, this is not football, basketball, or hockey, and so this costs a dear good amount of money for us to do. We (And by we I mean myself included) say and believe that there is no advertising in Michigan Stadium for the sake of tradition, but that's probably just because the Athletic Department doesn't need the cash (They make enough off their drink vendor and there stupid MGoBlue Shop). If, heaven forbid, they should ever be destitute for cash, I'm betting that "tradition" is one of the first things to go (That will almost certainly never happen, but I'm just sayin').

In NASCAR, you can do as well as Jimmy Johnson and you won't even break even if you don't have some major sponsorships. That's just the way it has to be sometimes, and cutting-edge solar technology qualifies.

twohooks

February 16th, 2010 at 12:03 AM ^

Each model comes equipped with Ping Pong balls and plastic cups for Beer Pong that can be played along the body of the "vehicle" in between major in-race repairs.

formerlyanonymous

February 16th, 2010 at 1:27 AM ^

Much like concrete canoe, you have to recruit small females to come to your engineering school. Their lighter creating less load on the engines/boat, and often times the best looking girl in engineering. It's a bonus for solar cars because they have to be a contortionist to get in there.

Don

February 16th, 2010 at 11:02 AM ^

You start with a fiberglass bathtub, attach a 3/4" 4 x 8 sheet of plywood on top, then get a huge plastic trash can, cut some windows out of it and put it upside down on top of the plywood, scribe the outline of the trash can on the plywood, cut the hole, and then attach the trash can with screws. Then scan an image of PV cells, get some large format color copies made at Kinkos and glue them to the plywood. For the final step you install the axles, wheels, pedals, and bean bag chair and you're good to go.

Oh, I forgot one crucial step—go to the HD paint department and pick up a gallon of really bilious Spartoony green paint. You have to make sure it's latex so that it will start peeling off the fiberglass tub about 15 minutes down the road.

ZooWolverine

February 16th, 2010 at 1:36 AM ^

an award at their homecoming parade. Seriously. That must have been one sad parade.

I was about to say we should cut them some slack since it is their first car but then I looked up our first car. And it is infinitely sweeter despite now being 20 years old:

gbdub

February 16th, 2010 at 9:34 PM ^

It has a winged paint job for display purposes. Otherwise, need more room for solar cells.

In response to some other common questions, it doesn't have 2 wheels because the rules say you have to have at least 3, the whole top half comes off so you can get in, the top speed is roughly 90 mph, and I'm pretty sure we've never turned down a sponsorship (hey, $2 million every two years doesn't come easy). The Michigan team has 5 national championships (out of 9 races) and 3 third-in-the-world finishes.

http://umsolar.com/

bjk

February 16th, 2010 at 6:34 AM ^

if my sarcasm meter is on the blink.

I happened across a discussion of sentence-ending propositions while researching the use of third-person plural pronouns as a gender-neutral substitution for singular pronouns. It originated from the English Department at UT-Austin. I can't find it now, but the sense of it was similar to comments by Tina Blue:

Some of the "rules" of English grammar that you learned in school were devised by pedants who believed that English was inferior to Latin and should be improved by forcing it onto the Procrustean bed of Latin grammar. But English is descended from an ancestral German dialect, not from Latin, and certain of the rules based on Latin grammar simply do not fit the structure of English.

She is talking about "pedants" of the middle-to-late-nineteenth century. Writers from Shakespeare to Jane Austin were supposedly little bothered by these types of rules, although I can't think of any examples for demonstration. Probably none of them is as extreme as this one (link):

What did you bring that book that I don't like to be read to out of up for?

Of course, in the office or other CYA situations, the choice isn't ours.

NYWolverine

February 16th, 2010 at 11:56 AM ^

Some of the "rules" of English grammar that you learned in school were devised by pedants who believed that English was inferior to Latin and should be improved by forcing it onto the Procrustean bed of Latin grammar, begging the question: will you sleep with me? No? Hmmm.

But English is descended from an ancestral German dialect, not from Latin, and certain of the rules based on Latin grammar simply do not fit the structure of English, so how about a bit of frottage then?

Blazefire

February 16th, 2010 at 7:57 AM ^

This thread makes me depressed that I suck at math, as I actually have an excellent grasp of the principles involved. I just can't do the numbers to save my life.

But it does bring up an interesting question. Have any teams ever entered a two wheeled vehicle, or some other nonstandard (not 3 or 4 wheel) drive system to try and reduce drag and friction?