The Solar Eagle and Solar Eagle II made history in California, and brought significant prestige to and interest in the School of Engineering and Technology at California State University, Los Angeles. These projects became showcase pieces and brought recognition to the school and to the University. More than a half million people have seen at least one of the cars, either at educational tours across Los Angeles or, in the case of Solar Eagle I, at the Petersen Automotive Muesum. The project engendered unprecedented enthusiasm and pride all across the Cal State L.A. campus community. These projects provided the more than sixty Solar Eagle and Solar Eagle II team members with the educational experience of a lifetime. Furthermore, the projects played important roles in raising public consciousness of the need for environmentally clean transportation systems.




Solar Eagle III team 1997 - California State University, Los Angeles



In 1990, Cal State L.A. 's first solar-powered electric car, the Solar Eagle, placed fourth of the thirty-two entries in the GM Sunrayce USA , ahead of entries from many of the most prestigious universities in the nation, including MIT and Stanford. It finished first among the five California entries. The Solar Eagle vehicle received the U.S. Department of Energy first place cash award for "Best Artistic Design" based on both aesthetics and workmanship. In the 1990 World Solar Challenge race across Australia, the Solar Eagle placed in the top ten in the world, even though it competed against cars built by multinational corporations. These include such giants as Honda, Nissan, and Swatch. The car went on to win the Arizona Governor's Cup Solar Car Race held as part of the Phoenix Formula I Grand Prix in March, 1991.

In 1993, Cal State L.A. 's second Solar-powered car, the Solar Eagle II, won the regional qualifying event and started in pole position in the Sunrayce '93. An unfortunate electrical system failure on the first day took the car out of contention for first place. After recifying the electrical problem, the Solar Eagle II went on to win more first place daily finishes than any other entry.At the end of the race, Solar Eagle II finished in third place of the thirty-two car field. In November, 1993, the team traveled to Australia to compete in the 1993 World Solar Challenge. The Solar Eagle II finished thirteenth in the fifty-four car field. The vehicle averaged 37 mph, driving daily from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., bettering the Solar Eagle's 1990 speed by over 10 mph.

The Solar Eagle and Solar Eagle II continue to bring credit and recognition to Cal State L.A. The Solar Eagle has been on display at L.A.'s Petersen Automotive Museum, since it's opening in June, 1994. The award winning video, "The Flight of the Solar Eagle", which chonicles the process of designing, building, and racing the Solar Eagle, continues to be widely distributed. The Solar Eagle II is highly sought after for display in the community.

The School of Engineering and Technology at Cal State L.A. has developed a reputation for excellence in designing, building, and racing solar-powered electric vehicles. We learned an enormous amount in the process of building Solar Eagle and Solar Eagle II which are putting into the design and fabrication of the Solar Eagle III. We have the knowledge, expertise and enthusiasm to pull it all together and bring home a first place victory with the Solar Eagle III.




Solar Eagle III on the tarmac








They say the third time's a charm, and the old familiar phrase is appropriately invoked when speaking of Cal State L.A.'s solar-powered electric vehicle, the Solar Eagle III. The University's third solar car engineered by a team of students under the guidance of faculty and staff, the Solar Eagle III emerged from the Sunrayce 97 intercollegiate solar car race victorious. Not only did Cal State L.A. cross the finish line first and take the national championship title, the team also set a new Sunrayce speed record. For complete details on the Solar Eagle III's rise to national champions, visit the page, Sunrayce 97 Champs.


The flaming yellow Solar Eagle III is part of a rich history of solar vehicle excellence at Cal State L.A. The exciting victory Team Solar Eagle III celebrated at the Sunrayce 97 finish line in Colorado Springs on June 28, 1997, marks the culmination of learning, trial, and redesign gleaned from the University's first two solar race cars, the Solar Eagle and the Solar Eagle II. Cal State L.A.'s first two solar cars finished fourth and third respectively in past Sunrayce competitions, paving the way for the success of the Solar Eagle III.


What is the anatomy of a Sunrayce champ? Take a look at the Solar Eagle III's technical specifications listed below. They give the blueprint for a world-class, space-age solar vehicle, meticulously honed and refined based on the performance of its predecessors.



The Solar Eagle III: Technical Specifications

  • Weight: 427 pounds (without driver and batteries)

  • Length: 19.2 feet

  • Width: 6.3 feet

  • Height: 3.1 feet

  • Rolling Chassis: carbon fiber monocoque structure

  • Body and Solar Panel: carbon fiber skin with Nomex honeycomb core

  • Solar Cells: 762 terrestrial grade silicon cells (4.05" x 3.94") by Siemens wired in four parallel strings

  • Panel Voltage: 85-volts peak string voltage

  • Tire Rolling Resistance: .0045

  • Drag Coefficient: .15

  • Wheel Base: 104 inches

  • Wheels and Tires: wheels have composite centers with aluminum rims; tires are Bridgestone Ecopia

  • Brakes and Suspension: front brakes are mechanical hydraulic; regenerative rear brakes. Suspension is double A-arm in the front and swing arm in the rear.

  • Batteries: 108-volt system with nine 12-volt batteries by U.S. Battery Manufacturing Company. Weight=307 lbs.

  • Motor System: Two interchangeable motor systems: 1.) Wheel motor (NGM-SC-M100) and controller (NGM-SC-C100) by New Generation Motor Corporation; and 2.) DC Brushless motor (BRLS8) and controller (110H) by Solectria Corporation with belt drive.



Solar Eagle III cockpit









The Solar Eagle II is a world class, solar-powered electric race car designed and built by an outstanding team of Cal State L.A. students, faculty and staff.

In June of 1993, the Solar Eagle II finished third in the 1,100 mile Sunrayce '93 -- a cross-country race from Arlington, Texas to Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Solar Eagle II started the race in the pole position having qualified with the fastest time. Solar Eagle II finished ahead of 30 other universities, including such prestigious institutions as Stanford, George Washington University and UC Berkeley. The car and team were honored with a second place award in Technical Innovation for Chassis Design, Propulsion and Aerodynamic Systems by the Sunrayce '93 judges. They also received a third place award from the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) for Design Excellence in Engineering Safety.

In November, 1993, the Solar Eagle II gained international recognition by coming in 13th out in field of 54, and became the fourth U.S. team to cross the finish line at the 1993 World Solar Challenge, a grueling 1,882 mile race across the Australian outback.



Vehicle Technical Specifications

  • Length: 16 feet

  • Width: 6.1 feet

  • Height: 3.3 feet

  • Weight: 360 pounds (without driver and batteries)

  • Structure: Welded aluminum space frame with carbon fiber composite battery box and underneath pan to provide shear and torsion strength.

  • Body: Carbon fiber skin with Rohacell structural foam core.

  • Solar power system: 754 single crystal BP Saturn cells (3.7" x 3/8") on top; 824 quarter-size cut cells on vehicle sides. Cerium doped and antireflective-coated cover glass from Optical Coating Laboratory, Inc.

  • Maximum solar panel power: 960 watts.

  • Batteries: Ten - 12 volt U.S. Battery Mfg. Co. Lead acid batteries.

  • Motor: Solectria DC brushless motor and controller. Motor produces 6.5 HP at 5500 RPM.






Solar Eagles I, II and III roll out parade






In 1990, with no prior experience in solar vehicle technology, a dedicated team of students, faculty and staff from Cal State L.A.'s School of Engineering and Technology designed and built the University's first solar-powered electric car -- the Solar Eagle. The Solar Eagle placed fourth in the GM Sunrayce USA competing in a field of 32 of the top universities in the nation. It went on to place in the top ten in the world in the 1990 World Solar Challenge race across Australia. By finishing ahead of all California entries in both events, the Solar Eagle quickly became known as "California's #1 Solar Car." The Solar Eagle has been widely displayed at local schools and community events. In March, 1994, the Solar Eagle was placed on permanent loan to the Petersen Auto Museum, Los Angeles' premier automotive museum, and is currently on display.


Vehicle Technical Specifications

  • Weight: 205 kg, 452 lb.

  • Length: 6.030 m

  • Width: 2.017 m

  • Height: 1.100 m

  • Tire Rolling Resistance: 0.0067

  • Drag Coefficient: 0.125

  • Wheelbase: 2.743 m

  • Wheels and tires: Spoked wheels with covers and 20 x 1.75 inch Avocet slicks @ 85 psi.

  • Brakes and suspension: Hydraulic disk brakes front, regenerative brakes on drive. Non-parallel double A-arm suspension with coil over shocks, both front and rear. Rack-and-pinion steering. Chassis: Aluminum T6061 tubing frame, carbon/glass/ Nomex sandwich body.

  • Controls: Manual motor speed control

  • Transmission: Direct Kevlar cog belt-driven rear wheel.

  • Batteries: Eagle picher, Silver-Zinc, 80 cells, 3.0 kW-h, 33 kg wt., 120 Volts.

  • Solar cells: Spectrolab K7, space grade, monocrystalline silicon, 9040 cells 16.5% efficiency, 800 W peak. 21 Parallel strings. 3 AERL peak power trackers.

  • Type of Solar Panel: Fixed panel with 3 flat facet.

  • Panel Voltage: 250 Volts




Solar Eagle III breathing









California State University, Los Angeles (also known as Cal State L.A. or CSULA) is a California public university located in Los Angeles, California near the city of Alhambra and the center of the Los Angeles metropolitan area. It is part of the California State University system.


Serving approximately 21,000 students primarily from the greater Los Angeles area. Cal State L.A. is organized into six colleges that incorporate 50 academic departments and divisions offering a variety of majors.


The hilltop campus is home to the nation's first Charter College of Education, a NASA-funded SPACE program, a National Science Foundation funded environmental research center and other award-winning engineering programs. U.S. News has ranked CSULA's undergraduate business program as one of the best in the Los Angeles area.


The teacher credential program has awarded more credentials in the state of California than any other public institution. Cal State L.A. also has the nation's largest early/pre-teen collegiate program, and the only graduate Criminalistics program west of the Mississippi River. The university awards more bachelor's degrees to Hispanics than any other California college or university.


It is also home to the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts, a prestigious high school, notable for being the only arts high school in Los Angeles that allows for students from any district with in the L.A. county to attend. Classrooms are shared with Cal State L.A., however, Cal State L.A. activities tend to be separate from those of LACHSA. Notable LACHSA alumni include singer Josh Groban and actress Jenna Elfman.





Los Angeles State College was founded in 1947 by an act of the California legislature and opened for classes on the campus of the former Los Angeles City College. P. Victor Peterson was LACC's first president. In 1964 the school was renamed California State College at Los Angeles (CSCLA) when it became part of the California State College (CSC) system. In 1972, CSCLA was awarded University status and was renamed the California State University, Los Angeles (CSULA).




Early Entrance Program The Early Entrance Program (EEP) is designed to allow students between the ages of 11 and 16 to enter college at a significantly early age. Each year, roughly 25 students are chosen for this opportunity. Criteria include grades, test performance, a maturity evaluation, and successful completion of two Cal State L.A. courses. Once admitted, 'EEPsters' take both regular and honors classes, and follow a normal course of college-level study. Altogether, the program's participants number about 100.





California State University, Los Angeles






Public university


James M. Rosser




Los Angeles, California United States


suburban, 375 acre (1.5 km²)


Golden Eagles


Golden Eagle







Although the total friends and supporters of the Solar Eagle III number in the hundreds, a small core of 18 Cal State L.A. students, faculty and staff members have worked on the car consistently for nearly two years.



Student Team Members


Rick Aguilera
Assignment: mechanical systems
Graduation Year: 1998
Major: Mechanical Engineering
Born: Rosemead, CA
Residence: Alhambra, CA
Interests: fast cars; volleyball;
computers; skiing
Fluent In: Spanish


Dane Atol
Assignment: mechanical systems
Graduation Year: 1997
Major: Mechanical Engineering
Residence: Glendale, CA


Roland Cerna
Assignment: mechanical systems; alternative driver
Graduation Year: 1997
Major: Civil Engineering
Born: El Salvador
Residence: Los Angeles, CA
Interests: skiing; motorcycles
Fluent In: Spanish


Salvador Fallorino
Assignment: telemetry; instrumentation
Graduation Year: 1998
Major: Electrical Engineering
Born: Phillipines
Residence: North Hollywood, CA
Interests: web authoring; computer graphics; skating; basketball



Faculty Team Members

Stephen F. Felszeghy,
Professor of Mechanical Engineering


Raymond Landis,
Dean of Engineering and Technology


Richard Roberto,
Professor of Mechanical Engineering


Stanley Palmer
Assignment: solar panel assembly Graduation Year: 1998
Major: Industrial Technology
Born: Pasadena, CA
Residence: Pasadena, CA


Ricardo Solares
Assignment: mechanical systems
Graduation Year: 1998
Major: Mechanical Engineering
Born: Gardena, CA
Residence: South Gate, CA
Interests: sports; cars; computers
Fluent In: Spanish


Roman Vasquez III
Assignment: student team leader; chief driver; mechanical systems
Graduation Year: 1998
Major: Civil Engineering
Born: Los Angeles, CA
Residence: Montebello, CA
Interests: internet; sports; cars
Fluent In: Spanish
Note: also a member and driver on Team Solar Eagle II


Mark Van Dalm
Assignment: race strategy (weather forecasting)
Graduation Year: 1997
Major: Mechanical Engineering
Born: Arcadia, CA
Residence: Pasadena, CA
Interests: fishing; country music


Dylan Wakasa
Assignment: driver
Graduation Year: 1998
Major: Civil Engineering
Born: Los Angeles, CA
Residence: Alhambra, CA
Interests: billiards; athletics;
backpacking; rock climbing

Staff Team Members

Mike Obermeyer,
Electrical Engineering Technician


Dan Roberto,
Mechanical Engineering Technician


Bruce Fischer,
Technical Support Manager


Kathy Lex,
School Fiscal Manager











Aristotle Uni of Thessaloniki, Helios


Faculty of Engineering

Arizona Solar Racing Team - USA

Arizona Solar Racing Team

Auburn University

Sol of Auburn

Sol of Auburn

Aurora Team, Australia


Aurora Vehicle Association

Bochum Solar Car Team

Das SolarCar der Fachhochschule

California Poly S University

SLO Burn  Sidewinder

San Luis Obispo

Clarkson Uni Solar Car Team, USA

The Solar Knights

Delft University - Holland

NUNA I & II 2003

Dell Winston School

The Hunter

Solar Car Challenge

Desert Rose, Northern Territory Uni


Drexel SunDragon Home Page

École de technologie supérieure Quebec

Eclipse V (5)

Éclipse Vehicular Solaire 

École Polytechnique de Montréal


Eko-Auto  Poland


Electron Analytic Corporation

Dark Horse

EAC Skunkworks

George Washington University

George Washington Uni Solar Car

Georgia Institute of Technology

Solar Jackets

Solar Jackets

Heliodet, Germany


Heliodet, Solar Car Team

Helios - Lille, France

Hélios IV

Hautes Etudes d'Ingénieur

Honda Car Company


Illinois State University

Surya, Ratha, Mercury

Illinois State University Team

Iowa State University


Team PrISUm

Jonasun  Japan


Solar Car Paviion

Kansas State University


Solar Car Racing Team

Los Altos Academy of Engineering

Los Altos Solar Car Team

Massachusetts Institute of Technology



McGill University Monteal, Canada


Team iSun

McMaster University


McMaster Uni Solar Car Project

Messiah College Grantham, Penns

Genesis II

Genesis II Solar Racing Team

Michigan State University


Solar Racing Team

Michigan Technological University

Solar Car Team

Minnesota S Uni-Mankato/Winona S Uni

Minnesota Solar Car Team

North Dakota State University

The Double Deuce

Sunsetters - Solar Race Team

Northwestern University


Northwestern University

Nuon Solar Team, Netherlands

Nuon 3

Het Nuon Solar Team

Osaka Sangyo University, Japan

OSU model S

Solar Car Team

Prairie View A&M University


Sun Panthers

Principia College

RA 6

Principia College Solar Car Team

Purdue University


Purdue University Solar Racing

Queen's University Canada

Radiance  Gemini

Queen's Solar Vehicle Team

Red River College 

Red River Raycer

Red River College Solar Car Team

Rice University

Rice University

Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

Rose-Hulman Solar Car Team

Southern Illinois Uni Edwardsville

Cougar Cruiser

Southern Illinois University

South Bank University, UK

Mad Dog

South Bank Mad Dog Team

South Dakota School Mines & Tech

Solar Motion

South Dakota Solar Motion Team

Southern Taiwan University Tech

Southern Taiwan Solar Team

Stanford University


Stanford Solar Car Project

Tamagawa University - Japan

Tamagawa Solar Challenge Project

Team Futura, Italy


Team Futura

Team SunLake - Japan

Phaethon model

Team SunLake TOYOBO

Texas A&M University

Columbia Sunraycer

Texas A&M Motorsports Team

The Power of One  - Toronto


The Xof1 solar car team

Tufts University


Nerd Girls

University of Alberta

University of Alberta Team

University of Arizona


Solar Racing Team

University of Calgary


UC Calgary Solar Car Team

University of California-Berkeley


California Calsol Team

University of Kansas

Solution, CATalyst

KSU Solar Car Racing Team

University of Kentucky

Gato del Sol II

Solar Car Team

University of Massachusetts 

Spirit of Mass 413

Lowell Solar Racing Team

University of Michigan


University of Michigan

University of Minnesota

Borealis III

U of M Solar Vehicle Project

University of Missouri Columbia

Suntiger VI

The Mizzou Solar Car Project

University of Missouri Rolla

Solar Miner V

Solar Minor Car Team 

University of North Dakota

Subzero 3

Team SubZero

University of Ontario Institute of Tech

UOI Solar Vehicle Team

Uni of New South Wales SCR Team

UNSW Sunswift III

New South Wales SCR Team

University of Patras, Hermes

Solar Car Team

University of Pennsylvania


Penn Solar Racing

University of Queensland


Queensland Solar Team

University of South Australia


SA Solar Car Consortium

University of Texas at Austin

Solar Steer

Solar Vehicles Team

University of Texas at El Paso



University of Toronto

Blue Sky

Blue Sky Solar Racing

University of Toulouse


Heliotrope Solar Car Team

University of Utah 


Vehicle Design Team Utah

University of Virginia


UVa Solar Car Team

University of Waterloo

Midnight Sun VIII

Midnight Sun Solar Race Team

University of Western Ontario


Sunstang USP Solar Car Team

USP Solar Car Team

USP Solar Car Team

Western Michigan University

Sunseeker 05

W Michigan Solar Car Team

Yale University

The John Lee

Team Lux












American Solar Challenge

American Tour de Sol

American World Solar Challenge - Formula Sun          

Australian World Solar Challenge

Canadian Solar Discovery Challenge

Dream Cup Solar Car Race Suzuka 2003 - Japan

Japanese World Solar Car Rallye

North American Solar Challenge

Phaethon 2004

Solar Express - Solar Bike Race


SunRace 2003 - Australia

World Solar Car Rally - Japan

World Solar Rallye - Japan









1. Chassis - and seating

2. Mechanics - suspension, steering, brakes

3. Motor and drive train

4. Motor controller

5. Solar Array - usually part of body

6. Batteries or fuel cells

7. Electrical System - and instruments

8. Driver Controls - switches, lighting, etc

9. Bodywork - Screen, etc









A taste for adventure


Solar Cola - a healthier alternative.




The content of this website is copyright © and design copyright 1991 and 2006 Electrick Publications and NJK. All rights reserved. The bluebird logo and name Bluebird and Blue Max are trademarks.  The BE2 and BE3 vehicle shape and configuration are registered designs ®.  All other trademarks are hereby acknowledged.  Max Energy Limited is an environmental educational charity.