Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Students build solar-powered racer . . .


Students build solar-powered racer

Cited at:

Press Association - Cambridge University Eco Racing's Evolution, designed to compete in the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge 2015.

A NEW solar-powered racing car built by a team of British students is set to be launched in a bid to highlight the potential of electric vehicles.

The Cambridge University Eco-Racing Team (CEUR) is a 60-strong student organisation that has designed, built and raced eco-vehicles since 2007.

Later today it will unveil its new vehicle, named Evolution, which will compete at the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge, an endurance event across the Australian Outback later this year.

At the last event in 2013, the team's bid for success ended in disappointment after a crash during road testing raised concerns over the car's stability. But hopes are high that those problems have now been eliminated.

Driver Alan Jamieson, who is studying for a PhD in fluid mechanics at Cambridge, said the race was one of the "toughest" challenges in the world, adding he was hoping to overcome the previous disappointment at this October's race.

He added: "It is 3,000km with dust, fierce cross winds, bush fires and these long road trains of carriages which, as they pass, you can feel the buffeting effect of even in a Land Rover.

"We had beaten all expectations to get our vehicle Resolution to Australia in 2013 - we had designed the car from scratch and built it in a year.

"It was completely different to anything that had gone before; it was smaller, lighter, with an efficient array of solar cells that could position themselves towards the sun.

"But a big issue was, unlike the big teams participating, we were trying to study, fund-raise and build the car in our spare time.

"Parts were delayed and the car wasn't completely made when we began test-driving. Also our driving team was relatively 'young' in terms of experience, for example one of our drivers signed up before she even had her driving licence."

Evolution, which will be launched at the University of Cambridge sports ground, is designed to showcase cutting-edge sustainable engineering and demonstrate the potential of electric vehicles. It is hoped this could then help inspire future mainstream vehicles.

The team is supported by established firms Jaguar Land Rover, Marshall Group, Penso, Timeless Green, TTP and Viridian Sola. It has recently won the backing of international investor BNY Mellon.

Scott Stevens, from BNY Mellon, said: "By designing a car to run on solar power alone, CUER is driving the step changes in vehicle efficiency and new technologies for a low-carbon future.

"Their passion for innovation in clean technology is truly awe-inspiring."

Amy Livingstone, head of the electrical team, said the new car was more powerful and its solar panel had been adjusted to allow it to absorb more solar rays.

Programme director Aurelia Hibbert said: "Working on a practical engineering project is an invaluable experience to students, many of whom, like Alan and Amy, are on theoretical courses.

"The challenge for CUER has always been maintaining momentum when each year many of our core team graduate and leave the university.

"We have a strong engineering team, experienced drivers and an exciting and innovative entry for the 2015 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge."

Coming months will be spent testing at the Jaguar Land Rover wind tunnel facilities and on the track at the Millbrook Proving Ground in Bedfordshire.

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