A team of UNSW students re-imagining the future of solar-powered vehicles has unveiled its new-look racer at a launch event in Sydney.
The new solar-powered car, named eVe, will compete in the 2013 World Solar Challenge this October. The 3000 kilometre race from Darwin to Adelaide runs every second year and attracts international competitors.
Departing from their solo driver design, the new UNSW car more closely resembles a conventional sports car, featuring two doors, four wheels and room for a passenger. It has solar panels on its hood and roof, and a yellow-racing stripe along the side.
The goal was to create a more “human-friendly” car, said mechanical engineering student Sam Paterson, the project manager.
“We wanted to create the sort of car you could drive anywhere, all while keeping the design cool and producing zero emissions,” he said. “We think this car is a symbol for a new era of sustainable driving in Australia.”
The Sunswift team that designed and built the car is comprised of undergraduate business and engineering students from UNSW. It’s the team’s fifth solar racer since being formed in 1996 by its original members.
In 2011, Sunswift’s fourth generation car set a world record, becoming the fastest solar-powered vehicle, reaching a top speed of 88 km/hour. It was the team’s second world record –
But this year the UNSW team is competing in a different class, where the object is less about the speedometer, and more about practicality. It’s a requirement that cars carry both a driver and a passenger.
The team raised more than $27,000 through a Pozible crowd funding campaign earlier this year, and say the extra money will help them compete against teams with bigger budgets from universities such as MIT and Stanford.
The car will hit the road for the first in September for track testing before heading to the Northern Territory for the race.