This year’s 2012 American Solar Car Challenge matched college teams of solar vehicle designers against one another on a 1,650-mile, eight-day journey powered only by the sun. The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Mich., Quantum vehicle won four of the five stages of this amazing race with the fastest times—in part because of its lightweight, digitally printable vinyl vehicle wrap made by Avery Dennison Corp., Pasadena, Calif..
Instead of traditional vehicle paint, which would have weighed approximately nine pounds, the University of Michigan’s Quantum vehicle wore Avery Dennison MPI 1005 Supercast Easy Apply RS, which tipped the scales at between eight and 16 ounces. “We eliminated a significant amount of weight with the wrap,” says Cole Witte, engineering director for the University of Michigan solar car. “The vinyl conforms very well to the compound curves of Quantum’s body—and looks just like paint.” The Quantum finished the five stages with the lowest overall drive time.