Solar Eagle III: A Narrative History

 

 

The legacy of the Solar Eagle project began nearly ten years ago when

General Motors chose Cal State L.A.

and more than 30 other prestigious universities to design a solar-powered

electric vehicle. Each university was challenged to bring their car to the

proving grounds of the first annual Sunrayce--the now-world-renowned solar

race car competition. Not a group to turn down a good contest, Cal State

L.A.'s team of students, faculty and staff, set out to demonstrate the ingenuity,

talent, and commitment to excellence held as a standard in the School of Engineering and Technology.

Cal State L.A.'s first world-class solar car earned many achievements

throughout 1990 and 1991. The Solar

Eagle sped to a fourth place finish in the 1,643-mile Sunrayce 90,

finishing ahead of some of the most prestigious institutions in the nation.

But if Cal State L.A.'s first Sunrayce performance wasn't enough to convince

the world of its rank among the most elite engineering and technology programs,

surely the Solar Eagle's showing at the 2,000-mile World

Solar Challenge did the trick. The Solar Eagle blazed to a top-ten world

ranking at the Australian Challenge, leaving any skeptics in its dust.

Among its many honors, the sleek Solar Eagle was awarded Best Artistic

Design by the U.S. Department of Energy. Sought after by many curious fans,

the Solar Eagle did a two-year stint as a featured exhibit in Los Angeles'

Petersen Automotive Museum.

But the Solar Eagle was just the beginning. Bitten by the solar-powered

bug, Cal State L.A. was not one to leave well-enough alone. The next generation

of solar vehicle design created the Solar Eagle II.

Shorter in length, lighter in weight, and more efficient, the much faster

Solar Eagle II was built on the success of its predecessor. The story of

the Solar Eagle II starts with much promise as the team logged in the fastest

qualifying time for Sunrayce 93, winning the pole position. Expectations

were high.

But Team Solar Eagle II took a paralyzing blow early on at Sunrayce 93.

The Solar Eagle II fell back to 26th place after experiencing electrical failure on the first day of competition.

Despite the unforeseen complication, the car battled back to dominate four

of the seven race days and finish third overall. Solar Eagle II averaged

10 miles per hour faster than the Solar Eagle at the World Solar Challenge

in Australia the same year, finishing ahead of 43 entries--many of which

were built by multinational corporations.

Honored for its excellent engineering design and technical innovation,

the Solar Eagle II upheld the Cal State L.A. tradition for building world-class

solar vehicles.

But the great accomplishments of Team Solar Eagle and Team Solar Eagle

II were not enough to satisfy the Cal State L.A. community. Ceaselessly

aiming for perfection, the School of Engineering and Technology convened

a new team in 1995 to drive a new solar car project. The result of their

efforts is the defending Sunrayce national champion, theSolar Eagle III.

Nearly twenty feet long and more than six feet wide, the Solar Eagle

III is truly a state-of-the-art solar vehicle. It's made up of entirely

composite materials, making it lighter, stronger, and more durable. A total

of 762 solar cells smother the panel to juice up the car's batteries. And

a state-of-the-art hub motor built directly into the wheel allows the Solar

Eagle III to operate at maximum efficiency. More in-depth technical specifications for the Solar Eagle III can be found at Solar Eagle III: The Next Generation.

Cal State L.A. had the history of a successful, constantly improving program in its corner, even before

Team Solar Eagle III returned from Sunrayce

97 with the national championship. Merely competing in a Sunrayce is an accomplishment reached only by the nation's finest educational institutions; schools dedicated to student achievement and growth through experience. But winning Sunrayce 97 cemented Cal State L.A.'s rank among the most respected learning institutions in North America. Hundreds of worthy universities have competed for the Sunrayce gold, but only three have ever gone the distance. Cal State L.A. is one of them.

"This victory shouts to the world something we've known all along," says Dr. Raymond Landis, Dean of the School of Engineering and Technology at Cal State L.A. "Cal State L.A. is one of the nation's finest educational institutions."

The Solar Eagle III might have more victorious surprises in store, so keep your finger on the pulse of this student project! The next stop is the 1998 Australian World Solar Challenge Today the nation, tomorrow the world!


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Solar Eagle III: The Next Generation

| What's New | Scenes from the

Solar Eagle III Rollout |
Meet Team Solar Eagle III |

Roman Vasquez III:Team Leader Profile | Sponsors: Friends

of the Solar Eagle III |
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Project: A Narrative History |
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