CalSol Goes to the BERC Symposium

Brian Graf // // No Comments
Impulse at the Richmond Field Station

Impulse at the Richmond Field Station

CalSol will be attending the BERC Symposium on October 18, 2012 to show off Impulse to the hundreds of people who have come to discuss the major energy issues and solutions of our time. Come out to see us on display in Lower Sproul Plaza from 6-9pm on Thursday’s portion of the events. You can learn more about the event and purchase tickets at their website:

Some topics of discussion at the event are about shale gas, carbon capture and sequestration, energy subsidies, utility scale solar, and much more! Maybe we aren’t utility scale solar but we have fully functioning proof of vehicle scale solar!

We will see you there!




Cal Homecoming – Go Bears!

Brian Graf // // No Comments
Impulse at Homecoming!

Impulse at Homecoming with Pol, Alex, and Sam explaining Impulse to visitors

UC Berkeley just completed its homecoming weekend festivities which included us beating UCLA 43-17 at our brand new stadium as well as many of the engineering teams out on display for everyone to see! Impulse was out in front of Davis Hall on Saturday next to the super mileage vehicle, human powered vehicle, and concrete canoe teams. Hundreds of parents, alumni, and UC Berkeley affiliates wandered by our vehicle, all of them with mouths wide open in awe.

After a few hours of showing off our car to the public we packed up the display and drove Impulse back to the Richmond Field Station. We decided to take San Pablo Avenue instead of the freeway for the return trip because we wanted a more calm drive back. It’s also fun to take city streets because so many more people get to see the car and snap photos of it.

Go Bears!

Ben speaking with some visitors

Ben speaking with some visitors to the CalSol table

Green Drive Expo

Michael Vogel // // No Comments

Green Drive Expo

Followers of CalSol, come and join us tomorrow at the the Bay Area’s premier consumer expo dedicated to hybrid, plug-in, ev and other high-tech, ecofriendly vehicles, the Green Drive Expo! We’ll be there to show Impulse, alongside many premiere auto manufacturer’s, including Toyota and Chevrolet.

The exhibition is open from 10am until 5pm this Saturday, September 15th. For more information, head on over to the expo’s website:


We look forward to seeing you there!

CalSol’s First General Meeting!

Nicole Schauser // // No Comments

Last Wednesday, September 5th, CalSol had its first general meeting of the semester. After two weeks of recruiting, including displaying Impulse at Engineering Student Orientation, we expected a large crowd of interested newcomers to attend this first meeting and learn what CalSol is all about. However, I think the number of people who showed up even exceeded our expectations — by our count we had 131 people present!

It was great to feel the excitement in the air as interested students settled down into their seats to hear about CalSol’s past, present and future, including our plans of racing in ASC 2014 with a brand new vehicle that they will get to help design and build. Speaking with people afterwards and seeing their interest in the team brought back memories of my first CalSol general meeting two years ago, which I left wide-eyed from excitement, knowing that I had joined a club full of opportunity for hands-on projects and new friendships.

I know I’m not the only one when I say that I’m excited about the potential of this new group of students, and am looking forward to what the fresh blood in CalSol will bring for the team!

CalSol at the Sonoma Indy Grand Prix

Brian Graf // // No Comments

Opening ceremony to the Gro Pro Indy Grand Prix hosted by Sonoma Raceway

Opening ceremony to the Gro Pro Indy Grand Prix hosted by Sonoma Raceway

CalSol attended the Go Pro Indy Grand Prix sponsored by Sonoma Raceway and got to show off Impulse to hundreds of race car fans and gear-heads alike. We got a prime spot to display the car in front of the autograph booth for the Indy car drivers and we were placed next to an all electric performance vehicle made by Kleenspeed Technologies. This is a shot of the opening ceremony to the race; they had American flags unfurling, cannons firing, fireworks lighting up, and all manner of celebrities and athletes to start the show off with a bang.


CalSol places 4th in the 2012 American Solar Challenge

Alex Cuevas // // 1 Comment

The results are in, and CalSol has officially placed 4th in this year’s American Solar Challenge! Although we had already largely predicted this outcome based on the events of Stage 5, having our accomplishment set in stone means a lot to us. This is a huge step forward for CalSol, as we have proven that we can be competitive on the national stage.

All of the teams who completed ASC 2012, after the awards ceremony. I'm one of the guys holding up the ASC flag.


The Return Trip: Fast and Fun

Brian Graf // // No Comments

Yellowstone National Park Lower Falls

Yellowstone National Park Lower Falls

On Monday July 23 we visited 3M’s facility to speak with them about all of their new technologies that could help us build our next solar car. We found many intriguing new tapes, velcro’s, adhesives, and coverings that we will definitely be integrating into our future projects. Thanks again 3M for inviting us to drop by!

That event finished up around 1pm and we decided to get going on our return road trip. 250 miles later we ended up in Fargo, ND. The place that we stayed at had an indoor pool which was well used by the team members that night. Not the most fascinating city, so we got up early the following day and set out for a long long long day of driving.

We completed 600 more miles along highway 94 which took us to Billings, MN. That drive was one of the most beautiful scenic drives that we have had in the last 5 weeks. Montana has the prettiest landscapes and scenery by far. We all couldn’t stop taking photos because each ravine, mountain, and plain was just stunning! All in all though this scenic drive was just a way to get us closer to our true goal: Yellowstone National Park.


ASC Stage 5: To St. Paul

Derek Chou // // No Comments

Stage 5 of ASC: 150 miles from La Crosse, WI to St. Paul, MN. It seemed simple at first. Since we’d been driving 200+ mile stretches of road for most days before this, this seemed like it would be a relatively simple day. Except when it started raining.

Driving 59 mph in the rain!

On the last day, we started with a full battery pack, so the rain wasn't too much of a big deal for us.

Our strategy from the days before thankfully allowed us to start this day with a full battery pack, but since Stage 5 was a so-called “sprint” stage, we would be driving Impulse at highway speeds for good portions of the route.

We set our target speed at 59mph and blazed through the portion of the route that had us driving on the I-90, passing several surprised teams along the way. Partway through that segment, a surprise for us: The University of Michigan was pulled over on the side of the road! The radio chatter through our caravan was both confused and delighted: We had actually never seen their car on the road before – we would always see them at the start line, and then at the finish line, with nothing in between. Seeing them pulled over, making repairs to their car, really drove home the point that the rain affects everyone.

In the middle of the stage, we slowed down to reduce our power draw to save up for the large hill that was to come at mile 100. Long story short, the hill was no match for us, especially when the sun came out around that time. We increased our target speed to 62mph and set our sights on St. Paul.  (more…)

ASC Stage 4: Wisconsin Roads

Derek Chou // // No Comments

Following our third place finish in Normal, IL, another stage loomed in front of us: Normal, IL, to Verona, WI, to La Crosse, WI. Our strategy from the days before seemed to be working quite well, so we decided to apply that same strategy to this stretch: drive sustainably, such that our batteries neither gain nor lose charge, such that we could net a gain over the evening and morning charging hours. This way, we would also be somewhat protected from bad weather conditions, since if the sky decided to be cloudy, we would have battery power left to use.

Indeed, the weather became cloudy halfway through the first day of Stage 4, and our strategy paid off. We made it comfortably to the checkpoint in Verona, WI around 4:30PM, and achieved a nice 1-hour break in the cool, cloudy weather. Some other teams weren’t as lucky, however, since the combination of the heat and clouds from the previous days had caused them to drain their batteries, making this stage tougher to weather.

Run, Forrest, Run!

Since the road conditions at the checkpoint were terrible, we were allowed to push the car out of the checkpoint area to the start area.

Leaving the fully cloudy checkpoint, we made it just 10 miles out of the checkpoint before it became apparent that it would be uneconomical to continue on. We decided to try to find a large parking lot to set up for the night and for the coming morning.


ASC Stage 3 – Whether you Weather the Weather + Update!

Michael Vogel // // 3 Comments

The last two days of raycing, July 17th and 18th has been the third stage of the American Solar Challenge. This stage began in Ann Arbor Michigan and ended in Normal, IL. It has been quite the exciting trip, and as its the best place to begin, from the beginning.

CalSol at Goshen, IN

The day began beautifully. Ann Arbor was a wonderful town with a bunch of crazy people excited about solar technology and vehicles. We had breakfast courtesy of Black & Veatch, and began the day at 9:04, in accordance with our fifth place position as of the day before. We started out to some issues with our battery ventilation, and fell back a few positions. While dealing with that issue, several teams passed us, as it was so close to the beginning. We spent the rest of the day traveling at 35 miles per hour, which we’ve discovered to be our “steady state speed” over the past few days. We can travel, given good weather, at 35 miles per hour forever. The day proceeded, getting steadily warmer, and we were driving steadily farther. Before we knew it, we were 150 miles down the road, and arriving in Kalamazoo, the home of Western Michigan University, and our new friends, the Sunseeker Solar Vehicle Team. Plus it was over one hundred degrees. A quick hour of charging, impound and lunch and we’re back on the road at 4:08, the ninth team to pull out of the checkpoint that afternoon.