By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer
Every two years, Australia hosts what is known as the World Solar Challenge, where the top universities, technical institutions, and private companies race custom-designed vehicles across almost 2,000 miles. There’s only one catch: their cars have to be as energy efficient as possible using 6 solar panels! Some of the top competitors have money practically thrown at them to build the best cars. However, that’s not the case for students at the University of Cambridge. These young scholars had to raise money to build their solar-powered vehicle – Resolution – all while expertly juggling school and work. How much money? £500,000, which is roughly $780,800 US dollars! Even though they had to work harder than most, the students are confident in their coming victory.
Resolution uses a revolutionary aerodynamic design – meaning it doesn’t slow down from wind resistance – that allows it to go 70 mph, with a top speed of 87 mph! That might not seem like much, but we’re talking just 6 solar panels powering this thing. Plus, the highest speed ever recorded for a World Solar Challenge winner was only 63 mph. What’s really insane, is that Resolution only uses the same amount of energy needed to power a hair dryer! “Put simply, our car looks like nothing else in the competition, and that might just give us the edge we need,” said Keno Mario-Ghae, the team manager for Cambridge University Eco Racing, based in the University’s Department of Engineering. “There is still work to do, but we’re at the stage where the devil is in the detail. We’re looking at getting little things to run a bit more smoothly, or with a bit less power.”
Wow, these busy scholars sure are confident with their design, and for good reason it sounds like! The brave young adventurers are the only ones entering World Solar from Britain, even though the competition is available to all universities worldwide. When is this dramatic race under the sun going to take place? Set your calendars for October 6, and hopefully these hard-working students can win glory for their nation!
Images and video courtesy of University of Cambridge.