Swiss students crossing Australian outback in solar car
Students from Switzerland's ETH Zurich are racing a PV-powered car through the Australian outback. The vehicle can travel 80 km/h in sunny conditions without using any battery power.
The car is participating in the 3,000 km World Solar Challenge – an internationally lauded solar car race. The competition started on Oct. 22 in Darwin, Northern Territory, and will run until Oct. 29, with the finishing line in Adelaide, South Australia.
In a press release, the students explained the car uses 4 square meters of monocrystalline silicon solar panels. Under dark conditions, the car is battery-powered and can travel more than 400 km at 60 km/h. The car's speed tops 120 km/h.
“The car is a result of a year's work,” said team manager Alexandr Ebnöther in a promotional video clip. “We were a focus project that started very small with freelancers investing their free time into it. The conditions in Australia are different than Switzerland, and although we design the car for the Australian roads and its heat and sun – there are things we can not anticipate.”
The car weighs 188 kg, with most parts made from carbon fiber-reinforced polymers (CFRP). Glass-fiber-reinforced polymers (GFRP) have been used for the canopy, as it is lightweight while maintaining dimensional stability, according to the students.
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