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Solar car made by Cal Poly students nears world record by hitting 51 mph

Cal Poly students test solar car speed. Photo Courtesy: Cal Poly
Posted at 5:29 PM, Aug 27, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-27 20:29:21-04

A group of Cal Poly students created a solar car that nearly broke a world record.

The car, named Dawn, clocked its maximum speed at 51 mph. The world record currently stands at 56 mph set in Japan in 2014.

Aerospace student Lacey Davis drove the car during the test. She is one of several members on Cal Poly’s Prototype Vehicle Laboratory – or PROVE Lab – team.

“I think that actually suppressed my fear of hitting an object or running the car off of the track, because it was so open and vast on the El Mirage lakebed. It was also inspiring to know how many other world records and vehicle testing had been done out there for other major projects,” said Davis of the experiment.

While the team came very close to the record speed, they plan to use the test for future endeavors and to improve on their vehicle projects.

“Not everything in life goes exactly as planned,” said Aerospace Engineering Professor Paulo Iscold. “Overcoming failure has become part of the engineering process.”

The car is completely solar, running on 100% renewable energy from the sun.