Durham University Electric Motorsport solar car on the world stage

By Jack Eardley

Tobias McBride has been busy. The head of business for Durham University Electric Motorsport (DUEM), has just returned from Australia, where his team took part in the World Solar Challenge: a solar-powered race across the Australian desert.

He has also recently contributed to the signatures on a landmark climate change agreement in Bonn – sustainability is one of DUEM’s key concerns. He took a brief moment out of his schedule to chat with Palatinate SciTech about his work.

DUEM is run by a team of Durham students who work to promote sustainable innovation by building and racing their own design of solar car. Unlike other teams, they take pride in producing and refining their car without significant third party parts.

The team who run DUEM do so in their spare time, and the organisation receives the majority of its funding from private sponsorship. Tobias is proud of DUEM’s achievements and claims “we are the UK’s most successful solar car team.”

In the last few months, DUEM successfully completed 1000 km of the 3000 km race across the Australian outback. Setbacks included an unexpected rain storm that was unsurprisingly problematic for a solar car.

Weighing in at only 250 kg, their current model can cruise at 70 kmph, using less than the power of an electric kettle. It also has an advantage over the rival Cambridge University team’s car as it does not fall over in light winds or under turning.

The World Alliance for Efficient Solutions climate change agreement features a range of signatories, including current Fortune 500 companies and DUEM. The agreement focuses on the profitability of green innovation and encourages investment into innovative technology and solutions to the climate change crisis.

The vision shared by Al Gore and many climate change solutions advocates is that profitability alone can solve the climate crisis through sustainable innovation and creative destruction, and DUEM is part of this vision.

Photograph: Durham University Electric Motorsport

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