Cars

Building A World Solar Challenge Car: The First Hurdles

New rules, exams and a hurried rebuild took their toll on our solar car team this week, as the first hurdles of this monumental challenge begin to take hold.

Support the UWS Solar Challenge Team! If you have marketing/sponsor dollars (hello car makers, telcos and electronics multinationals) or engineering support to donate, please contact Greg at UWS Solar Car.

The Challenge

25 engineering and industrial design students from UWS are working together to build a car powered entirely by the sun, ready for a race across the spine of Australia. In October next year the team will race the car from Darwin to Adelaide as the underdog, pitted against better funded rivals.

Team Diary: Week Three

The rule change flagged last week threw our solar sailors for a loop this week, cramming more stress into an already exam-filled week. Greg tells us that this year’s Solar Challenge rules require a lot of modifications to happen to the car before it rubber can hit the road.

First of all, this year’s cars all need four wheels, as opposed to the three the team’s car currently has. Other requirements include a redesigned rollcage that can shield the driver against 5Gs worth of force, a driver’s seat adjustment that allows the driver to see 11 metres ahead and a requirement for a redesigned steering column that won’t impale a driver in the event of an accident. Can’t say I argue with that last one.

According to Greg, our team manager, these requirements are tough.

Due to these regulations and what we were previously redesigning in forethought to these changes, this week was about deconstructing the jig that was previously constructed for the prototype, with foam, composite glues and MDF being taken apart very carefully to not break it. It was a frustrating affair, with more precision work than big bad building.

The team managed to attract some much-needed sponsorship this week from Over Exposure Engineering Group who have taken care of tooling and manufacturing for the moment, but the team’s coffers are now once again dwindling in this finance-heavy endeavour.

The rebuilds continue! Will our team make it to the start-line for this year’s race? Find out next week as we continue to follow our solar challenge team.

Follow the team on Facebook, Twitter or visit their website.

Gizmodo Australia is excited to be on board: each week we’ll be posting build reports leading up to the rolling chassis tests this August, powered trials in September, and the race itself in October 2013.

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