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University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

University of Michigan’s 2014 solar car, Quantum, speeds down the highway in the American Solar Challenge. (Darren Cheng)

A car driven by a University of Michigan team has won the bi-annual American Solar Challenge for the fifth consecutive time.

This year, student-designed solar-powered cars from 23 universities in the United States, Canada, Iran and India raced 2,735 kilometers from Austin, Texas, to Minneapolis, Michigan, sharing the roads with regular traffic. The competition started on July 20 and lasted for 8 days.

The University of Michigan’s Solar Car Team crossed the finish line first, in spite of problems with a motor at the beginning of the race that delayed their car, named Quantum, for as much as 30 minutes.

The three-wheeled vehicle was not built by this year's team, the usual procedure. The Quantum team raced in the 2011 World Solar Challenge, held in Australia, placing third, and came in first in the American Solar Challenge in 2012.

Due to graduation and turnover, the members of this year's team have never raced before. Team member Pavan Naik said they learned to work together, however, and help each other out. "I'm excited for the next World Solar Challenge," he said.