Howdy friends! It’s been a while!
I have finally returned to our beautiful golden state, California! After getting back to school and sorting out all sorts of miscellaneous logistical issues, I couldn’t help but noticed that our blog is TERRIBLY out of date! To start off a series of blog posts to come, I’d like to formally acknowledge our Platinum sponsor, Volkswagen, for everything they have done for us thus far.
In the past couple years, ever since a group of us went to Palo Alto to present on our then-ideas, and when the then-lab-director Burkhard Huhnke decided to sponsor us, CalSol and VW have become so intertwined in the way that it changed CalSol forever.
We showed up at the Volkswagen Electronics Research Laboratory (ERL) in May 2010 with dreams weaving of electrical prelim designs and mechanical CAD drawings; it was the first year into Impulse’s two-year-design-and-build cycle (we didn’t even have a name for Impulse until half an year later!), an year after our rayce in Texas, and we practically didn’t have anything but a group of passionate students who were dying to work on this exciting project.
Maybe it was because ERL is a research lab and enjoys big ideas like ours, maybe the ERL engineers were impressed by our boldness and admired our enthusiasm, or maybe, just maybe, they were simply dazzled by our team members’ spiffy good-looks. One way or another, ERL took a chance, and they became CalSol’s first Platinum sponsor ever.
ERL not only helped us out financially but also offered us their engineering expertise and lab equipments. Through our wonderful contact, Prasanth Jeevan, we had met many more fabulous engineers such as Erik Glaser and Matthew Montgomery who have been super helpful and patient with us. Not to mention the amazing Suhrid Bhat, the main solar car project person who has always been extremely enthusiastic about our project, he was the magic guru who helped us obtain some state-of-the-art Panasonic batteries with his genius.
Over this past summer, I had the honor to intern at the ERL and got to know more beautiful people from Volkswagen. Jim Edwards, the corporate communication specialist from the headquarter, even came all the way to California from Virginia to visit us and the Stanford Solar Car Project to do some interviews and get to know the teams better. He, along with Prasanth, Matt, and Suhrid, was the main driving force to help us acquire our snazzy rides in Australia. Huge thanks to Jim, and our new lab director, Peter Oel, for all the effort they put into getting the support vehicles for us! I’d also like to give a shout out to my team leader Marcial Hernandez and my mentor Dirk Langer, who have both been very supportive of my involvement with CalSol throughout my internship. If it wasn’t for their understanding and patience with a crazy intern like me, it would not have been possible for me to commit to CalSol like I did this past summer.
To Volkswagen Group of Australia, thank you so much for giving us a helping hand! While we are a VWGoA-sponsored team, they have absolutely no obligation whatsoever to help us out at all. The PR representative Jenny Wu from VW Australia generously loaned us five of her new, beautiful fleet vehicles (see pictures above!) to take out to the desert for the Challenge. The service manager, Paul Anastassi, from the Camberwell dealership in Melbourne was an awesome fellow for making all the paperwork/procedures go so smoothly and was a pleasure to work with. A big thank you too to the Marketing & PR Coordinator Lisa Foti for patiently dealing with all the miscellaneous post-race logistics with me.
Here on the behalf of CalSol, I’d like to offer my most sincere gratitude to the ERL, Volkswagen America, and Volkswagen Australia. Thank you so, so, SO MUCH, for your support! This epic journey Down Under would not have been possible without you. We look forward to our future together—between People’s University and People’s Car!