Building A Solar Challenge Car: Scoping Out The Competition

Gizmodo Australia's Solar Challenge team at the University of Western Sydney are getting closer and closer to their goal of having a working, solar-powered car on the go, and this week our team have peeked inside another team's lab to see how others are doing it.

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 Nine

The club this week took a trip out to Randwick, Sydney, where they met members of the Sunswift team. Now, technically, Sunswift and UWS are Solar Challenge rivals, but this meeting was about mateship and co-operation, not bitter rivalries. After all, this is all a bit of scientific fun!

Greg Hatten from UWS' Solar Challenge team explains the day:

We were taken through their impressive facilities and talked about their approach and structure to their student run and university backed project.

The UNSW team have been running since 1996 when they bought one of the Aurora team’s old vehicles and upgraded it, since then they have developed into a fully backed project and rank consistently in the race.

The team leaders, Jay (UWS) and Sam (UNSW) were quite content talking the day away about running their corresponding projects.

Meanwhile, the carbon fibre work continued back in the workshop while the team were off meeting the folks from the University of New South Wales.

Excess polymer and resin was removed from the car last week, and the underlying plywood and MDF was removed so that it could be reused in future. These boards were reshaped so that next time the team wants to build a solar car, they can apply what they learned this year.

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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