BERKELEY, Calif – Aug 15th 2011 – CalSol, The UC Berkeley Solar Vehicle Team, has completed its latest solar vehicle, Impulse, and is preparing to race for 1800 miles in the World Solar Challenge held in Australia from October 16th to October 23rd. This will mark the first time CalSol has ever raced a solar car in the World Solar Challenge.
The team has made a significant amount of progress in the last few weeks, and has spent its time testing Impulse out on the public road and meeting up with sponsors. The team is extremely excited to have come this far, and is busy making final preparations to ensure a smooth voyage as Impulse gets shipped to Australia.
Impulse, CalSol’s newest solar vehicle, is the result of 2 years worth of effort by a team of 75 undergraduate students. While Impulse only seats one person in its cockpit, it has the top speed of 70 mph, and has over 50 highway miles under its belt. Impulse powers itself purely off of solar energy, and uses no gasoline engines. Impulse has been inspected and registered with the DMV to be street legal and proudly displays its official VIN and license plate in the back of the car. Impulse costs approximately $150,000 to build, and is funded purely through donations. Impulse’s major sponsors include Volkswagen, Panasonic, and Kreysler & Associates.
The World Solar Challenge is a biennial solar car race held in Australia. The race starts from Darwin, ends in Adelaide, and travels through 1800 miles of the Australian outback. The race is attended by over 30 teams from around the world. CalSol is sending 20 members to race Impulse in the upcoming event. Because the event lies right in the middle of the semester, the team members have arranged to take the fall semester off with UC Berkeley.