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Central Coast Students Unveil Solar-Powered Car Designed To Beat World Speed Record

Photo by Cal Poly's Prototype Vehicles Laboratory
Solar Car "Dawn" built by Cal Poly San Luis Obispo students

A Central Coast community is getting its first look this weekend at an experimental electric car built by college students.

The Prototype Vehicles Laboratory made up of more than 40 Cal Poly San Luis Obispo students is unveiling its solar-powered vehicle nicknamed “Dawn.” It’s designed to break the world speed record for a solar-powered car. 

This ultra-lightweight vehicle -- composed of carbon fiber composites and more than 100 square feet of solar panels – can run on less than 2 kilowatts of solar power, which is the amount of electricity used by a hair dryer.

"I'm very proud of the vehicle that my team and I have built. I hope that when people see it and when people watch it drive and when they hear about the record that they're inspired to do their own crazy projects that might change the world or make a huge difference because that's what we're trying to do here," said 22-year-old William Sutton, a Cal Poly aerospace engineering student.

The team will attempt to break the existing 56 mile an hour record for a solar-powered vehicle in the Mojave Desert in June. They’re expecting to top 65 miles an hour.