The solar car’s blood, sweat and tears were worth the trouble!

Belinda Bantham -- Mon, 03/11/2019 - 10:57

The solar car’s blood, sweat and tears were worth the trouble!

Multifaceted knowledge is the big prize with which Esté Heese, a former student at the North-West University’s (NWU’s) Faculty of Engineering, walked away after she was part of this university’s well-known solar car team. This also boosts her career at Eskom today.


This young engineer-in-training is prepared to take on any project or department and attributes this trait to her experience with the Sirius X25 – the NWU’s solar car in 2016.

“The solar car project exposes you to various disciplines,” explains Esté. “In my current work environment I have to master exactly this – I have to involve different professions and disciplines to complete tasks.”

Three years ago Esté was part of the dynamic NWU team that managed the solar car project during the Sasol Solar Challenge. Her duties included research on the possible use of thermo-electric generators and strategic planning, among others.

After this exhausting race from Pretoria to Cape Town the team raked in the awards. Their accomplishments included crossing the finishing line first of all the African teams and in the overall fourth place, and walking away with the awards for Technological Innovation and Team Professionality and Safety.

However, she singles out one very valuable element of her solar car experience – the multifaceted knowledge she gained across various fields and professions. This even includes disciplines like marketing and the finer art of making speeches and preparing presentations.

“This experience enabled me to communicate my work on various platforms and definitely strengthened my interpersonal relations in the professional workplace,” she says.

Esté adds that she is grateful for the support network that the Faculty of Engineering offered her during her student days. “The lecturers are really outstanding in their fields,” she boasts proudly.

In the industry she often notices her lecturers being consulted for their specialist knowledge.

“The way in which they taught us to prepare reports I find particularly useful, especially since it is an important part of my day-to-day work,” she says.

Esté says that her mentors in the workplace regularly compliment her on the quality of her reports. “This skill makes me stand out above the rest of the engineers-in-training.”

Esté is positive about the future of engineering in South Africa and encourages all students who are currently battling this challenging field to enjoy every moment. “All the blood, sweat and tears are definitely worth your while. If you ever have the opportunity to become part of the solar car project, grab it with both hands, as it provides you with extra learning opportunities that can open many doors for you!” says Esté.

Esté Heese was part of the dynamic NWU team that managed the solar car project during the Sasol Solar Challenge in 2016. Here they are with the Sirius X25 in all its glory.