UNSW Sunswift

UNSW student team Sunswift smashes world speed record

Curated from newsroom.unsw.edu.au

A team of UNSW students has broken a 26-year-old world speed record, potentially establishing their Sunswift car as the fastest electric vehicle over a distance of 500 kilometres, on a single battery charge.

The world record was broken last week by the team at a racetrack in Geelong, Victoria.

The car achieved an average speed of more than 100 km/h during the attempt, bettering the previous world record of 73km/h.

However, no definitive numbers can be issued until the record is officially approved by the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), world motorsport’s governing body.

“This record was about establishing a whole new level of single-charge travel for high-speed electric vehicles, which we hope will revolutionise the electric car industry,” said jubilant project director and third-year engineering student Hayden Smith.

One of the professional drivers involved in the world record attempt, Garth Walden, said: “As a racing driver you always want to be on the podium and it’s not everyday you get to break a world record. I really enjoyed hanging out with the team and being part of history.”

The students are from UNSW’s Sunswift, Australia’s top solar car racing team. Their vehicle eVe is the fifth to be built and raced since the team was founded in 1996.


Sunswift-Eve-Unveiling - Credit Sunswift

Sunswift Eve Unveiling – Credit Sunswift

Earlier versions of the Sunswift car have been used to set a world record for the fastest solar powered road trip from Perth to Sydney, and a Guinness World Record for the fastest solar car.

The team hopes the car’s performance today proves it is ready for day-to-day practical use.

“Five hundred kilometres is pretty much as far as a normal person would want to drive in a single day,” Smith said. “It’s another demonstration that one day you could be driving our car.”

No secret has been made of Sunswift’s long-term goals for the car. They expect it to meet Australian road registration requirements within as little as one year, and have previously said its zero-emission solar and battery storage systems make it “a symbol for a new era of sustainable driving”.

The current car uses solar panels on the roof and hood to charge a 60kg battery. However, the panels were switched off during today’s world-record attempt, leaving the car to run solely on the battery charge.

The vehicle was put to the test on a 4.2 kilometre circular track at the Australian Automotive Research Centre, located about 50 kilometres outside Geelong, Victoria.

Almost a quarter of the Sunswift team – which comprises 60 undergraduate students – made the trip to Victoria to support the world-record attempt.

Students are drawn from across all engineering disciplines. The team has also enlisted industrial designers from UNSW Built Environment to rework the car’s interiors in preparation for the application for road-legal status.


Sunswift Eve Side-Credit Sunswift

Sunswift Eve Side-Credit Sunswift


Sunswift Eve Front Top - Credit Sunswift

Sunswift Eve Front Top – Credit Sunswift

Sunswift eVe Front Quarter - Credit Sunswift

Sunswift eVe Front Quarter – Credit Sunswift


Sunswift unveils sexy new Solar Powered Race Car

Sunswift the University of NSW Solar Car team has unveiled their new entry for the 2013 World Solar Challenge being held in October.

Sunswift-Eve-Unveiling - Credit Sunswift

Sunswift Eve Unveiling – Credit Sunswift

The new solar-powered 5th generation car, named eVe, will compete in the 3000 kilometre race from Darwin to Adelaide which runs every second year and attracts international competitors. The eVe is refreshingly car like and nothing like your typical Solar Challenge cars which look like cut down single person pizza boxes on wheels.

Nuna solar powered car, which has travelled up...

Nuna solar-powered car, which has travelled up to 140km/h (84mph). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The car is entered in the Cruiser Class which requires theability to carry a driver and passenger (both facing forward) and provides the ability to recharge overnight which is a pretty good use case for a Solar car in real life.

It has solar panels on its hood and roof, and a yellow-racing stripe along the side. If you could combine this sort of approach with the Transparent Solar Cells produced recently by MIT researchers this could turn into a reality.

Transparent Solar Cells PRV - Credit MIT

Transparent Solar Cells PRV – Credit MIT

Luminos — Stanford’s Solar Car

Luminos — Stanford’s Solar Car (Photo credit: P.S.Lu)

This goal of the Michelin Cruiser Class is not speed but practicality, with the ultimate goal of an entrant being able to meet the requirements for road registration in the country of origin.

This is fantastic news as it gives me an opportunity to post pictures of awesome cars. I love car porn and it seems to me that for a pre-production prototype the Sunswift eVe actually looks pretty good up against some of the worlds most admired cars.


Sunswift eVe Front Quarter - Credit Sunswift

Sunswift eVe Front Quarter – Credit Sunswift

Lamborghini Front Quarter -Credit Lamborghini.com

Lamborghini Front Quarter -Credit Lamborghini.com

The goal was to create a more “human-friendly” car, said mechanical engineering student Sam Paterson, the project manager.

“We wanted to create the sort of car you could drive anywhere, all while keeping the design cool and producing zero emissions,” he said. “We think this car is a symbol for a new era of sustainable driving in Australia.”

The Sunswift team that designed and built the car is composed of undergraduate business and engineering students from UNSW. It’s the team’s fifth solar racer since being formed in 1996 by its original members.

Lamborghini Gallardo Rear Top - Credit Lamborghini.com

Sunswift Rear – Credit Sunswift

Lamborghini Gallardo Rear - Credit Lamborghini.com

Lamborghini Gallardo Rear – Credit Lamborghini.com

In 2011, Sunswift’s fourth generation car set a world record, becoming the fastest solar-powered vehicle, reaching a top speed of 88 km/hour. It was the team’s second world record so its likely this one will be faster but the team have not officially released any data on speed or range.

Sunswift Eve Front Top - Credit Sunswift

Sunswift Eve Front Top – Credit Sunswift

The team raised more than $27,000 through a Pozible crowd funding campaign earlier this year, and say the extra money will help them compete against teams with bigger budgets from universities such as MIT and Stanford.

Lamborghini - Credit Lamborghini.com

Lamborghini – Credit Lamborghini.com

The car will hit the road for the first in September for track testing before heading to the Northern Territory for the race.

It’s not hard to see this sort of car morphing into a working prototype, maybe the guys at Lamborghini can tap Sunswift for their technology and implement it into their prototypes.

In my opinion it has more is a great step forward to bringing solar-powered cars to reality. I know that initially this will take time but it looks like a real car and can apparently do a decent speed. Given most trips in urban areas are probably no more than 50km per day, running this with an overnight charge from a Solar Panel on your roof makes a lot of sense to me. Imagine a situation where you pay nothing to run your call.

I have already converted over to rainwater and now get $ zero bills for water, (cant tell you how good that feels), I am planning to convert to solar with a big bank of batteries sometime in the next year to get free of the grid and inevitable price rises that will continue indefinitely. To be able to covert my car to solar or electric/hybrid would get me free of the 3 major cost of living increases for the last 20 years and for the foreseeable future.

Awesome job guys, hope this turns into something much bigger for the team.




Sunswift Eve Side-Credit Sunswift

Sunswift Eve Side-Credit Sunswift

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