People’s Car and People’s University

CalSol drove down with Impulse to the Volkswagen Electronics Research Lab today to give an end-of-year presentation on what we have learned, how much we have grown, how far we have come, and where we are heading next.  We’d like to thank everyone at the ERL for being there, supporting us, and inspiring us to dream big.  Additionally, we’d like to give a special thanks to Matt Montgomery for handling all of the logistical details of today; it was an amazing  meeting and CalSol had a blast!  With that said, we look forward to the continuing collaboration between People’s Car and People’s University…and GO BEARS!

A Belated Thank-You to SunPower

On August 19th of last year, literally days before the car shipped off across the Pacific Ocean, SunPower courteously invited us to an ice cream social event they were having at Richmond their office to wish Impulse bon voyage.  We were very honored to be there and extremely surprised to be welcomed by nearly 200 SunPower employees with some overwhelming enthusiasm (which we really loved)!

With a Great Big Hug and a Thanks from Us to You!

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and sorting out all sorts of miscellaneous logistical issues, I couldn’t help but noticed that our blog is TERRIBLY out of date!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.

Thank you Paul for being so helpful and wonderful! It's been a pleasure working with you!

You Make it Easier When Logistics Gets Hard

While it is important to get a car built, run, and tested, it is absolutely essential to successfully get the car across the Pacific Ocean in order to participate the Veolia World Solar Challenge in Australia.

The team began looking into shipping logistics in April, with very little luck. We have talked to many freight forwarders and shipping companies, and received many quotes. The quotes were always either too expensive or the transit would take way too long. There were also many confusing (and different) rules around the class-9 haz mat lithium ion batteries for both flying and shipping.

At the Finishline, CalSol Goes on

We finished the World Solar Challenge!

After our strong finish on the last day of raycing, we packed up the car and headed over to downtown Adelaide. We parked our support vehicles at the fairground parking lot and waited for our turn to cross the finishline at Victoria Square.

The team gathered at the finishline and nervously waited for Mike to drive the car to the finish.  As soon as Mike pulled in, we began chanting Bear Territory with our Cal and US flags.  The atmosphere was so hyped up and we were so proud to be there!

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.

Rayce Day 3: Did They Send Me Fire When I Asked for Sun?

Three days into raycing, the team began to realize why this is a Challenge as opposed to a Race.

Like a WSC official commented yesterday at the Dunmarra Control Stop that we unfortunately missed by a minute, “all kinds of sh*t happens when you rayce a solar car across the Outback!”  In the past couple days, we have had some seriously ridiculous problems with our solar arrays and power point trackers, and they are so baffling and frustrating as ever.

Day 10: To Kill a Sparrow

He was like this for the better part of the day, and didn't even wake up when we hit a kangaroo carcass
He was like this for the better part of everyday, and didn't even wake up when we hit a kangaroo carcass

Hello everyone! This is Jessica, Nicole, Abhay, and Martin from Scout, Maroon 5! Just in case you’re wondering, this is the same Jessica as the one from Captain BlueBear in the past few days. Everyone has been car-hopping, so here I am, in Maroon 5

Due to the lack of technology in this car in the past few days, we would like to backdate on all the interesting things that have happened to Scout. The Scout Car, also known as the Bird-Lovers, has the shiny record of killing at least 12 birds in a streak. Nicole had, in one day, hit 5 birds in a row. Abhay had, in the span of three days, totaled 7 birds with all fatalities. Brian (who just switched with Martin today) had, throughout the entire drive, hurt no bird at all; although he did swerve dangerously once to avoid killing a bird. In all seriousness, it’s very sad and unfortunate that the birds constantly fly in front of the vehicles while we are driving at 130km/h, but considering the danger involved to avoid killing these animals, there is very little we can do. So birds, please stop flying in front of the cars and making Nicole cry!

Day 9: Groundhog’s Day

Don't MMess with Mike, Marc, and Jessica

Hello from Mike, Marc, and Jessica in Captain BlueBear! We stole Mike from the rest of the caravan mostly because we needed a cameraman to snap all the beautiful sights we’re seeing and his pictures for the blog posts in general (FYI, Mike is the mediaman for the trip).

Since we were already packed up and heard of a possible storm in Alice Springs, the team has decided to drive straight to Darwin in the next couple days instead of trying to test-drive in SA. Today, the destination is Tennant Creek, one of the checkpoints for WSC, and it’s approximately 960kms from Marla.

Day 8 Part 2: Don’t MMess

We would like to add an addendum to what happened to us after we left Coober Pedy yesterday, and we believe the following video pretty much sums up our evening.  We sincerely hope you enjoy this short film as much as we do.

For the record, we changed the tire and fixed things up in ~30 minutes and continued driving up to Marla to meet up with the rest of the team.  Other than the three double-decker triple road trains that passed by our car on the Stuart Highway and inflicted a strong dust of wind each time, we think it was a good night overall.

Cheers and don’t mmess, with

Mike, Marc and Jess(ica)