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Arindam Chatterji '17

Electrical Engineering

Tell us about the Engineers for a Sustainable World (ESW) Solar Car Project that you’re leading.

The Solar Car Project aims to design, build, test and race UC San Diego’s first vehicle powered solely by the sun. The goal of this project is to create a solar car-building culture at UC San Diego wherein students from various majors can collaborate to build a vehicle from the ground up and participate in national solar racing competitions, such as The Formula Sun Grand Prix (FSGP) and American Solar Challenge (ASC) as well as international competitions, such as the World Solar Challenge (WSC). The project aims to showcase the power of renewable and sustainable energy which could be implemented on a large scale in the near future.

How did you become interested in solar technology?

I think the first time I really interacted with solar technology was in fifth grade when I was given a digital watch with a solar-rechargeable cell as a gift. It worked for about 7 years. It was fascinating to see something powered and charged solely by the sun, and I think that’s when I started appreciating its power. Eventually, as I saw more widespread applications in powering homes, devices, and even workplaces, it became quite evident that solar energy is a pivotal source of energy for the future.

How do you foresee your experience in leading this project will impact your future goals?

Leading this project has been a great learning experience in terms of working with a range of information not taught in classes. It's been great working with a variety of people with different skillsets and perspectives towards a common goal. Being a part of this project has definitely allowed me to appreciate the applications of renewable energy in unique, experimental settings to the point where I strongly wish to pursue a career in the renewable or electric vehicle industry. I also strongly believe that solar energy will be an important part of the future automobile industry, and when that does happen I hope to be in a position to contribute to it.