After participating in the gruelling 3000km Bridgestone World Solar Challenge across the Australian Outback, the Durham University Solar Car team has finished in 11th place in the Challenger Class following 6 days of brutal racing. They finished highest of any British team to date.
The car was named DUSC2023 and was designed and constructed by Durham students with extra care given on how to maximise energy efficiency for the endurance event.
The custom-built solar car weighs 180kg and uses a single custom-made in-wheel motor that cruises on the highway using less power than a kettle.
It’s also made of carbon-fibre with it’s unique design making it so aerodynamic that its drag closely resembles the wing mirrors on a regular car.
Over the 6-day competition, DUSC2023 relied solely on solar power to traverse the long daily distances that comprised the Outback track. Brutal heat and strong winds also proved to be obstacles along the route.
Despite this, DUSC2023 performed remarkably well, even receiving praise from race officials who commented on the car’s stability when passing large road trains on the narrow desert route. The car’s stability was proven for the entire race, with it only suffering from two minor technical issues.
DUSC2023 suffered a flat tire 2km shy of the finish line in the Adelaide city traffic. Luckily, the team managed to quickly change to the backup motor and the car was able to drive over the finish line.
Durham University Solar Car Team Principal for 2022-23 Anith Sathananthan said: “The experiences and adventure that we’ve had throughout the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge are the perfect culmination to a two-year long journey!”
Prof. David Sims-Williams, the team’s Faculty Advisor said: “The solar car project provides a great opportunity for students to take their ideas and designs through into reality.
“The solar car project is a good match for us at Durham University because it relies on real multi-disciplinary collaboration spanning the engineering disciplines and beyond.”
Finishing with the best result of any British team behind them, the Durham solar car team is gearing up for the challenges they may face in 2024 and beyond.
Image: Durham University