The SolarWorld Gran Turismo held a demonstration on Friday at the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management to showcase the solar-powered vehicle attempting to break a world record by circumnavigating the globe.
The event marked the car’s first stop at a U.S. university on its approximately 22,000-mile worldwide tour that began in Australia last October. The vehicle is the brainchild of nine undergraduate engineering students at the Bochum University of Applied Sciences in Germany, who built the car in collaboration with Camarillo-based solar panel manufacturer SolarWorld.
The two-seat car is composed of carbon fiber with roof-integrated solar panels, weighs about 260 kilograms, has a maximum power of 10 kilowatts and drives at 31 mph to achieve optimum efficiency. Team supervisor Matthias Wiemers said Audi loaned out its wind tunnel to help the team design a model with the least wind resistance.
According to student team leader Tim Skerra, the “World Wide Solar Ride” project aims to break the Guinness World Record for most miles travelled by a solar-powered vehicle.
“Hopefully in November we’ll finish our tour and get a Guinness World Record and show that solar power, this sustainable energy resource, works all over the globe,” Skerra said. “E-vehicles are the future for individual mobility because of efficiency, and we want to show that light and aerodynamic vehicles are the key.”