The visit was the final U.S. stop on the vehicle’s 21,000-mile trip to circle the globe, powered only by the sun’s rays. The SolarWorld Gran Turismo (GT), a collaboration between SolarWorld and Bochum University of Applied Sciences in Germany, is a two-seat sports car powered by solar panels on the roof of the vehicle.
The GT’s circumnavigation of the world is expected to set a Guinness Book of World Records record for the longest distance covered by a solar-powered car.
SolarWorld and the vehicle’s drivers and crew the college students who developed the car showcased the vehicle at a reception open to the public.
“The SolarWorld GT is an ambassador for sustainable personal transportation, reminding us that the power to shift our driving habits away from dirty fossil fuels is within our grasp,” said Kevin Kilkelly, president of SolarWorld Americas, the company’s commercial unit based in Camarillo, Calif. “The vehicle’s visit to FSEC, an esteemed research institute that has been promoting America’s energy independence for more than 35 years, is especially fitting. Our organizations have a history of collaboration on solar projects across the Sunshine State.”
The event at FSEC marks the sixth stop on the SolarWorld GT’s 3,774-mile, cross-country road trip that originated in California and will come to an end in South Carolina. Previous U.S. stops have included UC Santa Barbara, SolarWorld’s commercial hub in Camarillo, Arizona State University in Tempe, Texas Christian University in Fort Worth and the joint Florida A&M University Florida State University College of Engineering in Tallahassee.
The SolarWorld GT began its global journey in Australia and New Zealand in October 2011, covering more than 3,100 miles before shipping east to the U.S. in December. Following the U.S. leg, the vehicle and its crew will travel through Europe, Africa and Asia before finishing in Australia at the end of 2012.