Engineering Services: Sunraycer
AeroVironment, working with General Motors and GM’s Hughes Electronics, conceived, designed and built the breakthrough solar powered Sunraycer to compete in the inaugural 1,950 mile World Solar Challenge road race across Australia in November 1987. Starting from scratch, the team developed a vehicle that incorporated innovative materials and technologies to enable it to generate 1,500 watts of electricity at full sunlight, and travel at up to 65 miles per hour. The Sunraycer’s average speed during the race was over 40 miles per hour, allowing it to complete the course in 5.2 days, a full 2 days ahead of the second place finisher.
In 1988 the Sunraycer set a new speed record for solar powered land vehicles by exceeding 75 miles per hour. The success of the Sunraycer led to AeroVironment’s subsequent development of the GM Impact electric car, the prototype for GM’s EV-1. This program, in turn, resulted in the development of AeroVironment’s Power Processing Products, as well as its PosiCharge fast charge systems.