Espionage, not Sabotage: Visiting Aurora

It’s not every day that you get to visit a world class solar car team in Australia. The Melbourne team Aurora invited CalSol to their facilities on Thursday to explore the workshop and get a close look at several generations of solar vehicles. Martin Brook, the Educational Outreach Leader, kindly spent the afternoon with eleven of our members, showing us the inside and out of three of their vehicles.

CalSol inspecting Aurora Evolution
CalSol inspecting Aurora Evolution

We were immediately struck by the size of their building. We think we could fit both of our buildings at the Richmond Field Station into the main workspace of their CSIRO facilities and still have room to park our solar cars. Aurora uses this space to house many pieces of history that the team has created and acquired over many years. The walls are covered with awards and recognition for their accomplishments in the World Solar Challenge, Suzuka Dream Cup, and other respected events.

How Does Impulse Work?

A lot of people have been asking us to explain what exactly makes our car, Impulse, go. So Martin drew us a phenomenal comic about that very subject!

Click for large version

The Painted Stallion

Impulse's Glorious Sponsor Decals!

Okay, so Impulse isn’t a horse, but she sure is decorated, thanks to our sponsor, Signazon.

Every decal on Impulse was printed and die-cut by Signazon, an e-commerce marketing company that supplies an immense variety of custom or predesigned banners, signs, window advertisements, and of course, car decals.

Rayce Day 7: Raycing on the Edge

Dear supporters,

Clouds on Saturday

We are so sorry that this blog post is coming up so late. Ever since the race was over, we continued working on miscellaneous logistical details to wrap up the trip and kiss Australia goodbye.

On Saturday October 22nd, the team woke up to a thick layer of cloud over our head about 60 kilometers north of Port Augusta. After being in the RV for two days with Chris, I was very excited to rejoin the lead car in the caravan while Chris hopped in chase.

2011 Veolia World Solar Challenge Provisional Results

CalSol arrived in Adelaide on Saturday October 22 in the middle of the afternoon after completing 1809 km on solar power. WSC officials released provisional results for the 37 teams that participated in the week long challenge. We are very pleased to be ranked 20th among so many great solar car teams from around the world.

Updates from the Last Racing Day

It looks like the team is out celebrating right now, so let’s do some Facebook stalking of Ryan to get an idea of what happened on the last race day.  Ryan says:

Just left the port agusta checkpoint and we’re headed to Adelaide on solar power! The sun is so much nicer today (it still exists!) And we’re cruising at an amazing speed of 45 kph on a nearly empty battery pack.

Rayce Day 6: The Little Solar Car that Could

I think I can, I think i can, I think I can....

G’day world,

This is Ryan, currently distracted from operating telemetry in the chase car to write a blog post.  This is my first day operating telemetry from the chase vehicle, and unfortunately also the last day too.  Impulse is currently in the final stretch driving towards Port Agusta to hit the end of timing checkpoint, and with the weather that we’re getting, the race strategy team has decided that we want to drain our battery pack to log as many solar kilometers as possible, and then trailer to the finish line from there.  We drove 25-40kph earlier in the day but as we squeeze out the last of the charge now this means we’re averaging about 11 Kph on the Stuart highway.

Rayce Day 5: Antennas in Alice

CalSol drove through Alice Springs early this morning through some beautiful (annoying) hills with pleasant sunlight. Impulse had very little battery charge after our sprint to the outskirts of Alice Springs last night so we were very happy that the famous Australian sun could push us through sharp elevation changes. After leaving the bustling downtown we made the one and only turn in the entire rayce: a right hand turn to remain on the Stuart Highway. When we were in Alice Springs a few weeks ago we got completely lost in all the roundabouts, so this visit was comparatively good (we only got lost once last night and it was after we were done raycing for the evening).

Pictures! (from Australia of course)

Can we get this through customs?

Our good member Ryan has been steadily uploading pictures to Facebook when he gets internet. Unfortunately not everyone has Ryan as a Facebook friend (tragic), but now everyone can see these photos of the team on their Australian adventure. See the full gallery after the break.

Rayce Day 4: Tigers, Lions, and Bears, Oh My!

Team Philippine's batteries on fire (sorry for the long shot but I didn't want to get close!)

To carry on where yesterday’s blog post finished, the team left Tennant Creek with only thirty minutes left to race. As the team was preparing to leave the control stop, the Philippine team’s batteries caught on fire. By the time our team members saw what was happening they had already smothered the batteries with sand (fortunately, their top shell was off), but the lithium ion batteries continued to burn. The officials cleared the area without any injuries. Our caravan left without seeing the end result, but we hope the Philippine team will be okay.

At 4:56, CalSol ended up at a dirt pullout along the side of the road about 25km out of Tennant Creek. Although right next to the road and bordered by burnt trees and termite mounds, our campsite had enough flat ground for the team to camp and ample space for all our vehicles. Now used to the daily routine of setting up camp, our team had Impulse’s shell off and angled towards the sun in no time, and soon after,  all are tents were up and we were eating hummus and crackers by the R.V..