On Friday 9 August 2013, GSES staff members Clara Mazzone and Jono Pye attended the launch of the University of New South Wales’ newest solar car, Sunswift V, affectionately referred to as eVe. This is the student team’s fifth vehicle and is set to compete in the World Solar Challenge, an epic 3,000 km race from Darwin to Adelaide, this October.
Clara and Jono were Project Manager and Team Leader, respectively, of the team between 2008 and 2009. They were behind the design and build of the team’s previous car and have been mentoring the team over the past 2 years, providing support and advice in what can seem a daunting task of designing, funding and building a vehicle from scratch.
GSES Staff members Jono and Clara at the launch of Sunswift eVe. Photo courtesy of Eyes of Glenn.
This new vehicle is designed with a more practical application in mind than previous vehicles and will also compete in a different class. Boasting a comfortable interior with room for two ripped body-builder types, eVe is propelled by two CSIRO wheel motors, just over 4m2 of high-efficiency solar cells and a 16 kWh Li-Ion battery pack. The feasibility of the design stands in stark contrast to the sleek wing shapes and individual cockpit of previous Sunswift models.
This year’s new ‘Cruiser’ category differs from the ‘Challenge’ category entered in previous years as it requires cars to have a seated passenger and four wheels. This category allows for a larger battery pack and charging from the grid along the route. As a result, the cars built for this class bring us one step closer to sustainable transport. As a driver of the previous model, Sunswift IV ( IVy), Clara has a great appreciation for a solar racing car that does not require contortionist driving positions.
Sunswift IVy — Silicon Class winner of the 2009 World Solar Challenge from Darwin to Adelaide and holder of the Guinness World Record for the World’s Fastest Solar-powered vehicle. Photo courtesy of Daniel Friedman.
“What I love about this new car,” Clara notes, “is that from the side it does not look so different from an everyday vehicle but, with the use of state-of-the-art carbon fibre and fantastic aerodynamic design, the car weighs only a fifth of an average sedan and has an impressive coefficient of drag that is close to IVy’s”.
From behind, eVe reveals some of her aerodynamic secrets. Photo courtesy of Eyes of Glenn.
Electrical vehicles, with or without solar panels, will increasingly have a role in our grid network, and these students are learning how to optimise the system between battery, solar input and driving load — something that is not so different from the calculations explained in our latest publication on Grid-Connected PV with Battery Storage