Despite being challenged by bad weather conditions along the way, the University of Michigan Solar Car Team won the 2012 American Solar Challenge with their car Quantum for a fourth consecutive American title, while breaking a national record for margin of victory. The eight-day, biennial 1,650-mile competition for solar-powered vehicles started July 14 in Rochester, N.Y., and ended July 21 in St. Paul, MN.
The Quantum weighs a full 200 pounds less than its most recent predecessor, and it is 30 percent more aerodynamic. The battery is 20″x24″x5″ (LxWxH) and about 60 pounds and needed a lightweight and durable housing. The University of Michigan had used a battery housing from Stahlin Non-Metallic Enclosure in years past and it had performed excellently in this challenging environment. Consequently, when the team redesigned its car for 2012, they once again requested an enclosure from Stahlin.
During this year’s race the Stahlin enclosure — an N-Series — fulfilled the very important role of safeguarding the Quantum’s battery during “impounding” each evening. This process ensures that no team gains a competitive advantage during the race by illegally charging a battery. Every evening each competitor’s battery is held in an impound area by the race’s security department. A lightweight and durable enclosure is necessary to transport the battery to impounding and secure it for the night. Metallic enclosures were quickly declined because of weight. Some thermoplastic materials met weight needs, but, Stahlin’s fiberglass composite material met both weight and rigidity requirements for protecting the battery.
Key Features of the N Series:
-Rain shield provided for water ingress protection as required
-Rigid body construction and watertight seal
-Memory retaining polyurethane gasketing
-Integral mounting feet for ease of installation on wallmount enclosures
-Molded in panel mounting inserts
-Special panel configurations available including dead front panels
-Other major sponsors of the U-M Solar Car team include IMRA America, Michigan Engineering, Ford and General Motors.
University of Michigan Solar Car
Stahlin Non-Metallic Enclosure