Last week, a car designed and built by University of South Wales students, the Sunwift IVy solar car, smashed the world solar car speed record. At the HMAS Albatross navy base airstrip in Nowra, the car was recorded going over 88 kmh (nearly 55 mph), beating the previous record of 79 kmh (49 mph), which was set all the way back in 1987 (before most of the makers of Sunswift IVy were born).
While that may not be extremely fast, the car was only powered by silicon solar cells with all batteries removed, quite an accomplishment. And the technologies being developed in this car are expected to be used in real solar and electric vehicle (EV) cars in the future. The Sunswift IVy was “built from scratch” last year.
Breaking the Solar Car World Speed Record
“We broke the record at 10.32 this morning,” said Sunswift project manager Daniel Friedman said on Friday. “We were expecting to get our peak sun at noon, so the fact we broke the record so early was a great result.”
During the three testing days, the team saw a lot of clouds and rain and one member even joked about changing the name to Cloudswift.
Guinness World Book of Records adjudicators were present at the time of the record run and it is official.
“While students are also usually the drivers of the carbon-fibre race vehicle,” physorg notes, “professional racing driver Barton Mawer and Craig Davis, from electric car firm Tesla’s European operations, were drivers for this attempt.”
“I’ve been lucky enough to drive racing cars all around the world but this was right up there as a buzz,” Mawer said. “To grab the world record is just great for the whole team, and the University of New South Wales put in a big effort to get this done and hopefully we can keep chipping away at it to raise the bar.”
More About Sunswift IVy
Sunswift IVy creates approximately 1200 watts of energy, about as much as it takes to use a toaster. The fastest the car has ever gone is 103 kmh (64 mph) — in the 3000-km Global Green Challenge race from Darwin to Adelaide in 2009 (which it won, for the category it was racing under).