Powering the Next Generation
In March 2019, as part of Wolfspeed’s longtime commitment to furthering innovation and sustainability, the company signed on as a gold sponsor of the University of Michigan’s Solar Car Team. Every two years, the student-led team designs, builds and races a new solar-powered vehicle that challenges the limits of electric vehicle technology.
The cars compete on alternating years in the World Solar Challenge, the Australia-based world championship of solar racing, and the American Solar Challenge. Since the program’s inception more than 30 years ago, the University of Michigan Solar Car Team has won nine national champions, six top-three world finishes and one international championship.
“Partnering with the University of Michigan’s Solar Car Team was a great opportunity to support the next generation of engineers and innovators, as we both work to further the electric vehicle technology,” says Jay Cameron, Vice President and General Manager of Wolfspeed.
In October, this year’s vehicle, Electrum, finished third internationally at the World Solar Challenge. To Shray Rastogi, business division member at University of Michigan Solar Car Team, having the support of Wolfspeed, an industry leader in the electric vehicle space, was particularly motivating.
“Our team’s goal has been to design, build and race one of the world's fastest solar electric vehicles, and having Wolfspeed who has a massive presence within in the electric car market brought a whole new level of confidence as we took on this massive task,” Rastogi says. “To have a company whose long-term goals surrounding electric vehicles and focus on sustainability match our team’s so well was serendipitous.”
As part of the sponsorship, Wolfspeed had the opportunity to host a recruiting event with the University of Michigan’s College of Engineering community. As part of that event, representatives from Wolfspeed walked attendees through the wide array of jobs and internships available, demonstrated Wolfspeed’s global scale, and shared how the internships and opportunities the company provides can have a significant impact on a young engineer’s career.
“Wolfspeed motivated us to innovate, and also inspired and excited our team to enter into the industry,” says Rastogi. “Not only can we, as engineers, continue pursuing our passion for sustainability at Wolfspeed, but we can also work in a collaborative team environment that encourages diverse thinking and innovation.”