Cambridge Uni Boffins Hoping To Win Aussie Solar Powered Car Race

Cambridge University students, in the UK predict their new solar powered car will be capable of cruising at 60mph, and intend to enter the up and coming World Solar Challenge.

Equipped with a 6m2 ‘skin’ of silicon cells, the journey, from Darwin, will take the car, AKA ‘Bethany’, across Australia’s arduous outback, over three thousand kilometres, to Adelaide. Bethany’s outer skin covers a highly efficient electric car, one its creators say could be a prototype for future ‘green transport’.

Anthony Law manages Cambridge University Eco Racing, the student group who developed ‘Bethany’. Law states, they believe solar powered cars have enormous potential for use in the future.

The vehicle industry is under mounting pressure to develop low carbon emission, energy efficient, electric cars. The group already completed a previous model, ‘Affinity’, The first solar powered car to be legally driven on the road, in the UK. It completed a trip from Cornwall’s Land’s end, right up to Scotland’s John O’ Groats.

Top simulation software has been used to optimise aerodynamics, minimise energy consumption, and ensure all aspects of the car have maximised. It’s design includes an energy generating braking system. Plus, an energy saving hub motor. The car weighs just 170kg and researchers believe it will use fifty times less energy than regular gas vehicles.

It’s hoped ‘Bethany’ will be ready for extensive road testing by June this year. By October, the car will be in Australia, ready for the race, which begins on the twenty fifth. Cambridge will be out budgeted by most of the other competitors, working with only a £200,000 budget from the 2009 Anniversary, University fund.

About Finn Peacock

I'm a Chartered Electrical Engineer, Solar and Energy Efficiency nut, dad, and founder of My last "real job" was working for the CSIRO in their renewable energy division.

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