Building A Solar Challenge Car: How Much Does It All Cost?

Our team have been working hard over the last two weeks to get the car ready to race across the spine of the country, but just how much does it cost to build one of these epic green machines?

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.

The Numbers

Our UWS Solar Team have been hard at work building the solar car to the exact specifications, and it's not a cheap or easy task.


To get this thing off the ground, the team needs eight principle sponsors to back this incredible mission. The sponsorships are at various levels, but all in all, it will cost approximately $300,000 in sponsorship to get this mammoth task off the ground. Sponsorship isn't without its perks however.

Gold sponsors play a huge role in the build process, and thanks to their generous contribution, they'll get main branding on 40 per cent of the vehicle as well as naming and promotional rights to the solar car and its respective team. Gold sponsors will even get to choose the colour of the vehicle.

Silver sponsors will get their own second row logo and full access to the team for promotional purposes, while bronze sponsors get shared fender space and an acknowledgement that they have supported grassroots Australian science and education.

The bottom line is that this mission isn't cheap, but it will be amazing.

Team Diary: Week 11

11 weeks have passed since the team first started building the new solar car, and we're now starting to see it take shape.

After applying the lessons learnt from the Sunswift team last week, our UWS challengers were ready to get down to business.

The lads had to suit up this week in full protection gear for sanding back the carbon fibre they had been applying over the last few weeks. Why the suits? Well the carbon dust can get into the lungs and cause real health problems later on in life, so it's important to be safe, the team tells us.

The internal ribbing got a redesign too, after it was found that one side wasn't as strong as the others.

The team have been working triple-shifts around the clock to get this huge operation finished.

On top of the repairs and the sanding, there's a huge redesign underway to comply with this year's rules.


Greg Hatten tells us that the design will now meet the rules that say the chassis must be able to withstand an impact of 5Gs, as well as the restrictions around steering wheel, suspension and faring design.

The team opted for a chassis construction rather than a monococque body to keep the components simple, and we're told that it's worth the extra weight for this little bit of simplicity.

The head of the design team recently returned from overseas to redesign the entire suspension array, with the changes slated to lower the profile of the car.


Everything's now starting to come together and it's going to be really exciting to see how it all goes.

Now is the best time to donate to the UWS Solar Challenge team, too. They've just registered themselves as a foundation, which means any donations from here forward will be made tax deductible, and with NASA having just landed a nuclear-powered car on the surface of Mars, now is the best time to be encouraging science in Australia.

You can follow UWS' Solar Challenge on Facebook and Twitter.

Our team still needs sponsors, so if you're keen to help the underdog get a leg up in this amazing contest, contact Greg at UWS Solar Car.

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