At 600 lbs, and as aerodynamic as a Corvette, Infinium’s exceptionally lightweight frame is spun from carbon fiber composite. The car’s innards, like the suspension, are aluminum or titanium.
“There is hardly any steel in the car,” says Michigan team manager Steven Hechtman.
Technological leaps made in programs like Michigan’s spur eventual advancements in car manufacturing, according to Hechtman. Skilled alumni acquire cutting-edge knowledge they can bring to private industry, and sponsors like Ford keep an eye on progress.
“We’ve been using lithium batteries for 10 years,” says Hechtman, “but they are only now about to be used in production vehicles.”
The 5-time North American winners have placed third several times at the World Solar Challenge and with Infinium they seek redemption. An early pileup derailed their hopes at the last world event.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.