Solar Eagle History

The History of Solar Eagle I & II


Solar Eagle ISolar Eagle II
The Solar Eagle and Solar Eagle II made
history in California, and brought significant prestige to and interest
in the School of Engineering and Technology at California State University,
Los Angeles. These projects became showcase pieces and brought
recognition to the school and to the University. More than a half
million people have seen at least one of the cars, either at educational
tours across Los Angeles or, in the case of Solar Eagle I, at the Petersen
Automotive Muesum. The project engendered unprecedented
enthusiasm and pride all across the Cal State L.A. campus community. These
projects provided the more than sixty Solar Eagle and Solar Eagle II team
members with the educational experience of a lifetime. Furthermore, the
projects played important roles in raising public consciousness of the need
for environmentally clean transportation systems.


In 1990, Cal State L.A. 's first solar-powered electric car, the Solar Eagle,
placed fourth of the thirty-two entries in the GM Sunrayce USA
, ahead of entries from many of the most prestigious universities in the
nation, including MIT and Stanford. It finished first among the five California
entries. The Solar Eagle vehicle received the U.S. Department of Energy
first place cash award for "Best Artistic Design"
based on both aesthetics and workmanship. In the 1990 World Solar Challenge
race across Australia, the Solar Eagle placed in the top ten in the world,
even though it competed against cars built by multinational corporations.
These include such giants as Honda, Nissan, and Swatch. The car went on
to win the Arizona Governor's Cup Solar Car Race held as part of the Phoenix
Formula I Grand Prix in March, 1991.


In 1993, Cal State L.A. 's second Solar-powered car, the Solar Eagle II,
won the regional qualifying event and started in pole position in the Sunrayce
'93
. An unfortunate electrical system failure on the first day
took the car out of contention for first place. After recifying the electrical
problem, the Solar Eagle II went on to win more first place daily finishes
than any other entry.At the end of the race, Solar Eagle II finished in
third place of the thirty-two car field. In November, 1993, the team traveled
to Australia to compete in the 1993 World Solar Challenge.
The Solar Eagle II finished thirteenth in the fifty-four car field. The
vehicle averaged 37 mph, driving daily from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., bettering
the Solar Eagle's 1990 speed by over 10 mph.


The Solar Eagle and Solar Eagle II continue to bring credit and recognition
to Cal State L.A. The Solar Eagle has been on display at L.A.'s Petersen
Automotive Museum
, since it's opening in June, 1994. The award
winning video, "The Flight of the Solar Eagle", which chonicles
the process of designing, building, and racing the Solar Eagle, continues
to be widely distributed. The Solar Eagle II is highly sought after for
display in the community.


The School of Engineering and Technology at Cal State L.A. has developed
a reputation for excellence in designing, building, and racing solar-powered
electric vehicles. We learned an enormous amount in the process of building
Solar Eagle and Solar Eagle II which are putting into the design and fabrication
of the Solar Eagle III. We have the knowledge, expertise and enthusiasm
to pull it all together and bring home a first place victory with the Solar
Eagle III.



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