Student-Built Solar Car Will Attempt Record-Breaking Average Speed Run

A team of students from the University of New South Wales in Australia is hoping to add another record to their mantel tomorrow. 23.

The Sunswift team, which is comprised of about 60 engineering, business and support members, had previously set a Guinness World Record for the fastest solar-powered vehicle in 2011 after it reached a top speed of 55 mph.

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Sunswift eVe during its first-ever test

The newest vehicle, eVe, aims to break the 20-year-old record for highest average speed over 310 miles (500 km), which currently sits at 45 mph (73 km/h). The car is equipped with flexible PV solar cells that can produce up to 800 watts of power with clear skies, but they won’t be functioning for the record attempt. Instead, the vehicle’s lithium-ion battery pack and pair of custom-built electric motors with a claimed 97 percent efficiency will be the sole source of energy and propulsion. With help from the solar panels, eVe can travel around 500 miles (800 km), or 310 miles (500 km) using only the batteries.

Carbon fiber is generously used in the body and front wheels, which help keeps eVe’s weight to only 661 pounds (300 kg).

As is common with these school-run endeavors, Sunswift has had some assistance from various levels of the Australian government and other local businesses and corporations, although the team itself is run completely by volunteers.

Engineering.com