An ambitious team of undergraduate students from the University of New South Wales are on the brink of creating the Southern Hemisphere’s first road legal solar sports car.
Having built and raced five generations of solar sports cars, SunSwift’s latest prototype “eVe” holds the world record for the fastest electric vehicle over a distance of 500 kilometers on a single battery charge.
Now, the team is taking on the grueling task of redesigning and rebuilding almost every aspect of the vehicle to make it street legal.
Business Manager Rob Ireland said the challenge was in creating a solar powered vehicle that met the Australian Design Rules.
Solar car for sunny days.
“To be able to register the car for the road, we need to include side impact protection, windscreen wipers, headlights and a number of other components,” he told news.com.au.
“Making these changes will add weight to the vehicle, so its energy system will also need an upgrade.”
Currently the battery pack and solar panels mean the car can reach distances of 800 km from a single charge.
Ireland said the team wanted to make the vehicle equally as practical, stylish and functional as a regular car.
“To make the vehicle a commercially viable product and not just a science experiment, we need to offer the luxuries found in a petrol powered car,” he said.
“We want a two-seat car that can travel long distances at very high speeds without losing the comfort.”
As Sunswift is an entirely student-led, not-for-profit organization, the team relies on donations and sponsorships to continue operating.
“Other teams working on similar projects have multi-million dollar budgets and we don’t receive anything close to that,” he said.
“To think we are just some Aussie battlers fighting against the odds and competing on the world stage is pretty rewarding.”
SunSwift hope to have the car finished by July.