Want to see a solar-powered, street-legal motorcycle? Purdue University physics major Tony Danger Coiro did, so he created just that–and dubbed the vehicle, appropriately enough, the Solar Cycle. This eco overachiever has now launched a club to help like-minded students expand environmentally friendly transportation options on campus, the Purdue Electric Vehicles club.
Coiro, a junior, launched the club in conjunction with Jim Danielson and Sean Kleinschmidt, two sophomores at Purdue who spent their summer after high school converting a 1987 Porsche 924S (which they picked up for a cool $500) to run on electric power. Kleinschmidt, a mechanical engineering major, translated that success into a summer internship at Tesla, where he helped to develop batteries (not a bad thing to have on your resume before graduating). Danielson, who is majoring in electrical and computer engineering, spent his summer developing motor control electronics for Electro-Motive Diesel, which designs and manufactures diesel-electric locomotives.
As far as the Solar Cycle goes, Coiro reports that driving it is surreal. “I get instant, silent, constant acceleration that outpaces urban traffic,” he said, in a statement. “It’s like riding a magic carpet.” Coiro spent $2,500 redesigning and retrofitting a 1978 Suzuki he got for $50, which now gives him a range of up to 24 miles per charge (presumably on sunny days) and top speed of 45 miles per hour.
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