Although the school year has just begun, CalSol has already dived headlong into what promises to be an exciting build cycle. We began this past weekend by hosting a joint kickoff and showcase event with Berkeley’s Formula SAE competition team on Friday night.
Prospective members for both teams were treated to a BBQ at our workspaces at the Richmond Field Station, then an exhibition from both teams of the vehicles’ capabilities. Finally, everyone split into groups for a comprehensive tour of both teams’ facilities and subteams. Attendance was high despite a chilly breeze, and we all enjoyed seeing so many enthusiastic new faces.
General Motors, one of our largest sponsors, visited the Field Station the next morning. They treated us to pizza and ice cream, and we got a chance to test-drive a wide selection of GM vehicles. Some of them were capable of blisteringly fast speeds, though we took care to obey RFS speed limits. Still, the acceleration was something to behold.
We offered rides in our solar vehicles as well. However, not everyone was able to fit…
Ford Motor Company, also one of our largest sponsors, visited us on Sunday and brightened our day with burritos. Though there was no test drive this year, experienced Ford employees helped us out by reviewing some of our critical mechanical designs.
We are very thankful for GM and Ford’s continued support, and it was truly a pleasure conversing with both of them this weekend. Many of our alumni are working at both companies, and a lot of us jumped at the chance to catch up with them as well.
This weekend also saw the departure of a long-time fixture in our composites building: Zephyr’s fiberglass molds have left for new horizons! These molds were used to create Zephyr’s entire aerodynamic shell, but are no longer usable for Tachyon. Luckily, the New Jersey Institute of Technology Solar Car Team is happy to use them for their next vehicle.
This transfer was a long time in the planning. We began discussing this possibility with the NJIT team prior to this summer’s Formula Sun Grand Prix, and Jefferson Guerrero from NJIT was able to fly over this weekend to oversee the move.
Zephyr’s molds have served us long and well, and we are confident that the NJIT Solar Car Team will put them to good use. We’ll miss their vivid green presence, but look forward to making use of all the extra space in our composites facility.
Finally, we had a photoshoot with Berkeley Engineer Magazine. They brought out a lot of equipment, and we had fun trying different poses for the camera. Thank you for the opportunity, Berkeley Engineer!!