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SOLAR SPEEDSTER: UC Berkeley’s Gold Rush Racer

Posted By Mike Chino On July 7, 2009 @ 7:00 pm In Environment,Green Transportation,Innovation,San Francisco,Solar Power | No Comments

sustainable design, green design, calsol, uc berkeley, gold rush solar vehicle, solar powered race car, sustainable transportation, renewable energy, photovoltaic car [1]

Engineering students at UC Berkeley [2] recently showcased a slick solar race car [3] clad in photovoltaic panels that looks for all the world like UFO hovering a few feet over the earth. Dubbed the GoldRush [4], the vehicle is completely powered by the sun’s rays and is capable of hitting an impressive top speed of 50 miles per hour without using a single drop of gas. I recently had a chance to catch up with the sleek solar vehicle at the Marin County Fair and was able to snap some first hand photos – hit the jump for more!

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When I caught up with the GoldRush at last weekend’s Marin County Fair [5], it was soaking up the sun’s rays alongside a set of other electric vehicles at the Fair’s Electric Wheels Car Show [6]. As the exhibit’s only car completely powered by the sun, the GoldRush’s eye-catching photovoltaic array and streamlined space-age curves turned just as many heads as the svelte Tesla Roadster [7] parked a few paces away.

In designing the GoldRush the students decided to go with a three-wheeled design that kept the vehicle’s weight to a minimum. The car’s solar panel studded shell is composed of lightweight and super strong Kevlar [8] and Nomex [9] honeycomb, and the chassis is constructed from chromoly steel [10]. As an ultra-efficient racing vehicle, the GoldRush has just enough space for a single rider seated upright.

The vehicle is the latest in a series of six solar racing vehicles developed by UC Berkeley’s Calsol [2] program since its formation in 1990. The team has competed in a wide range of racing events including the North American Solar Challenge [11], the Formula Sun Grand Prix [12], and the World Solar Challenge [13]. We wish them the best of luck as they continue to race towards a brighter, more sustainable future.

+ Calsol [2]

Fair Photos by Mike Chino

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URL to article: http://inhabitat.com/solar-bullet-uc-berkeleys-gold-rush-racer/

URLs in this post:

[1] Image: http://www.inhabitat.com/?p=37890

[2] UC Berkeley: http://calsol.berkeley.edu/blog/index.php

[3] solar race car: http://www.inhabitat.com/2009/06/30/transportation-tuesday-the-solar-powered-nuna5/

[4] GoldRush: http://calsol.berkeley.edu/the_cars.php

[5] Marin County Fair: http://www.marinfair.org/

[6] Electric Wheels Car Show: http://www.marinfair.org/car_expo.cfm

[7] Tesla Roadster: http://www.inhabitat.com/2007/06/04/tesla-motors-the-electric-roadster/

[8] Kevlar: http://www2.dupont.com/Kevlar/en_US/index.html

[9] Nomex: http://www2.dupont.com/Nomex/en_US/

[10] chromoly steel: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/41xx_steel

[11] North American Solar Challenge: http://www.americansolarchallenge.org/

[12] Formula Sun Grand Prix: http://americansolarchallenge.org/event/asc2009/FSGP2009_info.html

[13] World Solar Challenge: http://www.wsc.org.au/

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