NWU students geared and ready for solar car challenge
After months of planning and building, the big moment has arrived for a group of engineering students at the North-West University (NWU) when they will participate in the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge in Australia.
Following the NWU’s successes with their participation in the local Sasol Solar challenges in 2012 and 2014, the team decided to build a better and faster vehicle propelled by solar energy. The first competition in which the NWU competed, covered more than 5 000 km and this team and that of the Tokai University in Japan shared the laurels.
According to Prof Albert Helberg, team leader, they have now harnessed new technology to make the new vehicle faster, lighter, more effective and stronger. This vehicle is propelled by the amount of energy used by a hair drier. The competition takes place from 18 to 26 October and starts in Darwin in the north of Australia from where 45 vehicles from 25 countries will be racing more than 3 000 km across the country to Adelaide. “We should cover the distance in seven days but we are aiming to do it in five days,” says Helberg.
The NWU team is one of only two teams in South Africa and Africa that will be competing in this so-called Dakar of solar rallies.