February 27, 2024

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UNSW solar electric car sets world record for efficiency

A new Guinness World Record was set by the University of New South Wales (UNSW) Sunswift solar car team for the lowest energy consumption while driving across Australia in an electric car.

According to a recent report, the UNSW Sunswift solar car team overcame major setbacks to drive across the continent. It was a determined return to form for the University’s students.

It arrived at Sydney’s McMahon’s Point having driven from Perth.

Despite a number of setbacks over the past year, the team of 14 students completed the 4100km journey without a hitch and two days ahead of schedule.

Some of their setbacks include a rear suspension failure during the 2017 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge and a battery fire in October.

A Mechanical Engineering student, who is part of the team, shared how nerve-wracking it was to see the car that they built with their own hands on the road.

She was always afraid that something could change at any moment but it all went pretty well and the team dynamic was great.

Violet, as the car is called, is the sixth generation solar car built by Sunswift. It is a student-led initiative at the University, which is now on its 22nd year.

The car’s energy consumption had to be maintained at less than 5.5 kWh/100 km in order to set the record. The actual energy consumption all throughout the journey was an average of 3.25 kWh/100 km.

This is about 17 times less than an average Australian car.

Traveling an average of 600km a day, Violet used about the same energy per day as that of a standard household, which is 20 – 24 kWh.

Moreover, the cost to run the car from Perth to Sydney was also economical, at well under A$ 50.

The University’s Dean of Engineering greeted the team at the finish line. The boundaries of modern engineering were pushed by the students.

In addition, they have proven that solar powered cars are likely to be a big part of Australia’s motoring future.

The student worked extremely hard to prepare for this journey and despite setbacks, they have shown resilience, bounced back like professionals and got on with the job,

A university degree should entail something like this, an actual hands-on experience and overcoming real-world challenges.

Driving into Sydney was the best part of the trip because that is when it finally clicked that the team had crossed the country in just six days. They drove a total of 4100km in a car built by students.

The Sunswift team be preparing for the 2019 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge next October.


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