Microsemi Sponsoring UMN Solar Vehicle - The Borealis

May 21, 2001 by Jeff Shepard

Microsemi Corp. (Irvine, CA) is a corporate sponsor of the University of Minnesota’s (UMN, Twin Cities, MN) fifth-generation solar-powered car that will compete in this year’s solar races against university, corporate and private teams from around the globe. Named the Borealis, the UMN entry includes Microsemi solar-panel protection diodes, as well as other Microsemi semiconductors.

The Borealis is the creation of 25 UMN undergraduate student volunteers who focused on its aerodynamic, electrical, solar array and mechanical designs under project manager Lisa Mauer. The resulting vehicle weighs 550 pounds, uses gallium-arsenide solar cells, lithium-polymer batteries and a digital-bus electrical system.

At their first event, the Formula Sun Grand Prix (Topeka, KS), the Borealis won two awards; one for the fastest quarter-mile and one for its new mechanical and electrical systems designs. This race also qualified UMN’s team for the American Solar Challenge, a ten-day cross-country road race from Chicago to Palm Springs, CA in July. At 2,300 miles, this race is claimed to be the world’s longest solar car competition.

Lisa Mauer remarked, “With our university’s long history of solar car competition behind us, the 2000-2001 Solar Vehicle Project team is confident of having competitive success.”

James J. Peterson, Microsemi president and CEO, said the company is excited to participate in this venture and to cheer on the students when they race Route 66 to Chicago. He commented, “We’re planning to give them a warm California welcome when they arrive in Palm Springs this July.”