Stanford University's 375-pound, panel-covered solar car rolled across the finish line of the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge in Adelaide, Australia, on Oct. 10 -- taking fourth in a 2,000-mile international solar car race through the Australian outback.
The car, Luminos, was the first American car to finish the contest, which is designed to encourage innovation in solar-powered car design. Two teams from the Netherlands and a team from Japan finished before it.
"Placing fourth is great for our team," said Wesley Ford, leader of the student-run†Stanford Solar Car Project. "It's probably the best finish that Stanford has had in decades. We're very happy for the car. We're happy for the team. We clocked the race in record time, and we're very, very happy."
Traveling only by day, the race took the team 39 hours and 31 minutes at a speed of 75.86 kilometers per hour.
The team credited the victory in part to the strategy of building a "robust" that never broke down during the grueling race and cut through strong winds during a middle portion of the race, according to a release.
Team leader Wesley Ford said Luminos represents a step toward creating a solar car that someone might use as an everyday vehicle. It is street legal, and the curving slope of the body utilizes aerodynamics in a way that its predecessor, Xenith, never did.