WSC Final Results

The final results for the 2011 Veolia World Solar Challenge have been posted. These results confirm that CalSol placed 20th out of 37. However, unlike the provisional results which said we traveled 1809 km on solar power, the final results have increased our solar distance by a whopping 2 km! Congratulations to the team for completing 1811 km by the power of the sun.

Thank you for adopting CalSol

Thank you so much to our Adopt-a-Cell donors who helped get us to Australia! We asked for your assistance, and you responded with enthusiasm. We could not have completed any of our challenges without your support.

As always, please send email to You don’t have to give us money to say hi. Our members love to receive words of encouragement from our friends. Here is one of my favorite emails that shows how often Steven keeps in touch with his family:

2011 WSC Reflections by Chris Cartland

The 2011 Veolia World Solar Challenge (WSC) fueled the single greatest adventure in my life to date. The adventure has been CalSol, or rather the process of working with a team to create the solar vehicle project that we see today. The 2011 Veolia World Solar Challenge brought out every facet of CalSol’s character and thoroughly tested our ability to sustain hardship. The competition is a challenge of epic proportions, and I have thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to work on a project so meaningful, complex, and rewarding.

The goal is to drive a vehicle 3000 km across Australia as fast as legally possible using only solar energy. This simple objective unleashes a firestorm of unwieldy ramifications that can only be fully understood by living through the action yourself.

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.

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.

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).

Day 13: Impulse Drives Down Under!

On a hot Saturday morning CalSol hits the raceway. The team arrives in two shifts: the first one leaves at 7:30am to fix the canopy and finish wiring the dashboard. The second round of members sleeps in for an extra two hours in order to prepare for an intense day of coding.

Ryan is all stocked up and ready for a marathon code session

Ryan has been working particularly hard and after waking up at 9:00am he needs iced coffee. The mission began and after a fruitless expedition for an open cafe we stopped at a Caltex station to load up on a variety of milk coffee drinks. These nine drinks are all for Ryan. Soon after receiving this coffee-load his coding began feverishly.

A few hours later, Impulse drove for the first time in Australia.

A Lively Country

This is our first Saturday in Australia and the country is preparing for a three day weekend. Our caravan is enjoying a very colorful drive through green fields, blue skies, silvery rain, and mysterious pink lakes near Adelaide. The terrain has changed from rolling vineyards to grassy plane and we saw a brilliant double rainbow at the end of a morning rain.

CalSol with Port Pirie Volunteers

Volunteers from Port Pirie are providing free coffee to all visitors along highway A1 in order to  make the roads a little safer during the long weekend. We stopped for a quick visit and chat. The two ladies at the coffee stand were very nice and CalSol really appreciated the opportunity to take a break and rejuvinate with some coffee, tea, and cookies. This country is full of wonderful surprises and we are excited to continue our journey north.

Accelerating Sustainable Performance Summit

Accelerating Sustainable Performance 2011
Accelerating Sustainable Performance 2011

Green energy and competition collide at Infineon Raceway. We had the honor of attending Accelerating Sustainable Performance 2011, “A Summit for Industry Leaders in Sustainability and Performance”. The day-long event featured speakers from the racing industry, advocates for green energy, and representatives from corporations who share a common goal of making the racing industry sustainable while pushing the limits of vehicle technology. You may think that NASCAR racing and alternative energy come from industries that don’t mix, but this forum showed that we can push the limits and keep it green too. From energy generation, storage, and distribution to marketing and policy, the conversation traversed the entire entire spectrum of energy sustainability.

Kreysler & Associates

Impulse is taking shape! The mold for our new car has been generously machined by Kreysler & Associates. They have been a huge help to us, and we really can’t thank them enough. The effort they put in on our part has saved us weeks worth of labor and expense and their exceptional work places them as a Gold sponsor. Take a peek at the molds as they arrived from Kreysler earlier this winter in our Photo Gallery. In the time since then we’ve been prepping the molds for the layup and securing the rest of the materials. Expect to see the shell of our Impulse soon.