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6 Minutes to Spare as Sunswift 7 Solar Car Sets Provisional World Record!

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Sydney’s University of New South Wales Sunswift 7 solar-powered electric car has claimed a provisional Guinness World Record by going 1000 km (620 miles) on a single charge in under 12 hours. The car, designed and built by students, posted a time of 11 hours 53.32 minutes for the distance at the Australian Automotive Research Centre (AARC) in Wensleydale, Victoria. It set the record with six minutes to spare!

That equates to an average speed of nearly 85 km/h, and it unofficially secured the Sunswift Racing team the record for the “Fastest EV over 1000 km on a single charge.” The official honour — and Guinness World Record certificate — will be conferred once timing information and car telemetry data have been analysed and confirmed by a team of experts.

Sunswift Team Manager Andrea Holden, a mechanical engineering student at UNSW Sydney, was delighted with the car’s performance and ecstatic to be part of a prestigious world record.

Sunswift 7 completed 240 laps of AARC’s Highway Circuit, equivalent to more than the driving distance from Sydney to Melbourne, to break the record. The car stopped only to allow for a change of driver every few hours — plus one tyre change due to a puncture and some nerve-wracking battery management repair.

Rapid tyre change for the Sunswift 7. Photo courtesy Richard Freeman.

The battery management issue caused the car to come to a complete halt at one point. The rules of the event state Sunswift 7 could not be stationary for more than 15 minutes at a time, and it took the team 14 minutes and 52 seconds to fix the problem and get back onto the track! Made it by that much!

Just as good looking from the back. Photo courtesy Richard Freeman.

“UNSW is the top-ranked engineering university in Australia and this is the top engineering project within the university. So it attracts the very best. These are not ‘normal’ students. These young men and women are the future and they have already demonstrated here with Sunswift what they are capable of — imagine what they will do when we let them loose on the wider world.

“During this record, the energy consumption was just 3.8 kWh/100km, whereas even the most efficient EVs on the road today only achieve a rating of 15kWh/100km and the average is around 20kWh/100km,” Prof. Hopkins added.

“I used to work in Formula One and nobody thinks we’ll be driving F1 cars on the road in five or 10 years. But the technology they use in F1 really pushes the boundaries and some of that filters down [to regular vehicles] and that’s what we are trying to do with Sunswift and what this world record shows is achievable.”

Feeling the love. Photo courtesy Richard Freeman.

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David Waterworth is a retired teacher who divides his time between looking after his grandchildren and trying to make sure they have a planet to live on. He is long on Tesla [NASDAQ:TSLA].


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