The Western Sydney University Solar Car Project team is comprised of engineers and designers. The group of motivated students came together to compete in the gruelling 3000 kilometre solar powered endurance race from Darwin to Adelaide, determined to build a car that pushes the boundaries of innovation all while demonstrating the incredible potential of electric vehicles.
Founded in 1987, the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge encourages teams from across the globe to come together to champion the cause for sustainable transport. Universities such as MIT, Stanford and Cambridge are among the competition, producing some of the most efficient electric vehicles on the planet.
After entering the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge for the second time in 2015, the Western Sydney U Solar Car Project team released a documentary following their journey to designing, building and racing their state of the art solar car, UNLIMITED.
Here’s a teaser.
Competing for the first time in 2013 with SolAce, the Solar Car Project brings students into a practical environment to apply the knowledge they have gained in the classroom, giving them the opportunity to improve their skills and collaborate with industry professionals.
The Western Sydney U Solar Car Project entered again in 2015 with high hopes. Armed with the drive to return even stronger after their successful debut, the team worked day and night to make a car that was faster and lighter, manufacturing custom carbon-fibre suspension components and producing a car weighing just 150 kilograms, with a top speed of 129 km/h.
With the manufacturing process behind them, UNLIMITED was put through rigorous testing, spending over a thousand kilometres on the track and Outback in preparation for the challenge ahead. After passing scrutineering and getting the green light to compete, the team placed third in qualifying to start the race.
Racing starts at 8am each day with contestants stopping where they are along the Stuart Highway at 5pM to set up camp for the night. In the heat of the Outback, this is an incredible test of stamina for the driver, who is confined to a small and uncomfortable cockpit with no air conditioning. Air-conditioning is an unaffordable luxury when it comes to energy efficiencies and aerodynamics.
The journey to Adelaide was not all smooth sailing, with UNLIMITED crashing after a suspension failure. Stranded on the side of the road, the team rallied together to fix the problem, re-joining the journey to Adelaide after just half an hour.
Despite the accident, the team pushed through to repair UNLIMITED, arriving in Adelaide in an incredible 10th place in the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge’s Challenger Class.
Preparation is well underway for the 2017 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge with the Western Sydney U Solar Car Project team raring to hit the road!! Bridgestone will once again be supporting the team as a sponsor, supplying low rolling resistance tyres designed and tested specifically for the event.
The complete UNLIMITED Solar Car documentary is available to view on the Western Sydney University YouTube Channel.