Engineering students from the University of New South Wales earned a provisional Guinness World Record as their Sunswift 7 became the fastest solar-powered race car | Jobs Vox


An Australian-made solar-powered race car has set a temporary Guinness World Record for the shortest 1,000-kilometre race, claiming the title with just six minutes to spare.

The Sunswift 7 vehicle built by a team of engineering students from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) is now on track to set a record for the fastest electric car to travel more than 1,000 kilometers on a single charge.

But the low-profile vehicle nearly missed the finish line, with a battery management issue causing a 14-minute pit stop that nearly nullified the record attempt.

The Sunswift 7, powered by batteries and solar panels on its roof and bonnet, completed 240 laps of the Australian Automotive Research Center in Victoria to complete the challenge, or the equivalent of driving from Sydney to Melbourne.

Sunswift team manager Andrea Holden said the win was “validation of all the efforts put in by everyone in the team”, after originally building the vehicle for the biennial Bridgestone World Solar Challenge, which was canceled in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. was done.

A solar powered car drives on a rural road.
Sunswift 7 weighs only 500 kg. ,You: UNSW Sydney ,

Ms Holden said, “It’s strange to think that we helped create something that is the best in the whole world.”

“Two years ago, when we started building this car, everything was going into lockdown and there were very difficult moments.”

But the engineering students, led by former Red Bull Racing operations head UNSW Professor Richard Hopkins, faced significant challenges on race day, including a tire puncture and a battery problem that forced mid-track repairs.

Out of the scheduled 15 minutes, it took 14 minutes and 52 seconds.

Professor Hopkins, who helped lead the Red Bull team to four world championships, said the achievement was even more “incredible” in light of the obstacles the team had to overcome.

“Let’s remember that these are not the best-paid professional carmakers working for Mercedes in Stuttgart,” he said.

“It’s a bunch of very smart amateurs who have taken all the ingredients and put it together in a great way.”

The Sunswift 7 race car weighs about a quarter as much as a standard electric vehicle at 500 kg, and boasts a low-profile body with a drag coefficient of just .095.

Professor Hopkins said the vehicle would not be “a production car of the future” due to cost and other practicalities, but said its design could provide valuable lessons for the design of future fuel-efficient vehicles.



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