Solar cruiser

June 1, 2018
This article appeared in Berkeley Engineer magazine, Spring 2018

After winning the Formula Sun Grand Prix last summer, CalSol, the university’s solar vehicle team, has decided it’s time for a fresh ride. Their new car, called Tachyon, is a departure from previous versions. Instead of a single passenger, challenger-class car, of which the team has made eight versions since the mid-1990s, Tachyon will compete in the cruiser class and be able to hold four passengers. “One of our core values as an organization is member enrichment,” said engineering physics major and CalSol member Andre He. “And this is a big challenge and learning opportunity. We are doing a lot of things that we haven’t done before.” Besides entirely redesigning the body — the structural chassis will be a composite monocoque, replacing the previous aluminum frames — the team has also invested significant time designing and building all of the control systems. In order to get Tachyon ready for next year’s big races across the globe, including the World Solar Challenge, the team has been collaborating with industry partners, such as Ford and GM, as well as other university-based solar vehicle teams.

Diagram of new solar car components: Poer, payload, body work and controls