“The first two days were amazing – nice sun and weather,” said Pavan Naik, an industrial engineering junior from Northern Virginia, who is the business and development manager for the team. “But this is why we do this.”
The 21-student team left Ann Arbor on Saturday for a 1,200-mile test run through parts of Ohio, Indiana and Michigan. Naik said the plan was to be in Petoskey on Monday night, but work on the car continued late Monday and departure from the Grand Haven area was rescheduled for 8 this morning.
Project and race manager Eric Hausman, a junior from Beverly Hills, said some technical issues are what they wanted to have happen.
"We’d rather have issues now," he said. "Then we’re prepared to take care of the stuff for the race.”
See more on the car and the team at solarcar.engin.umich.edu.
The team planned to trailer the car from their camp at Lakeshore Baptist Church in Grand Haven Township to the area of Hickory Street and 174th Avenue in Spring Lake Township for a restart. This is where they stopped for the day on Sunday.
Cam Herringshaw, a junior from Shelby Township, said the objective of the trip is to break-in the car “and get the team used to the days on the road.” The mock race is used to test the car on its first long-range drive, he said, as well as stress-test the team and the team's procedures.
Students in a variety of engineering majors at the University of Michigan have been designing the car for more than a year in preparation for the bi-annual World Solar Challenge, which starts Oct. 6 in Darwin, Australia. This is an 1,800-mile race.
UPDATE: The solar car left at 8 a.m. today from the intersection of 174th Avenue and Hickory Street in Spring Lake Township, traveling north on 174th Avenue.
As of about 10:30 this morning they were driving through Manistee.
Hausman said the car would be traveling close to the speed limit today. They have had the car get up to a speed of about 65 miles per hour.
To read more of this story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.