For the first time in African history, a solar car invented in South Africa has been entered into the biggest race challenge in the entire globe. Yes, I’m talking about the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge taking place in October in the beautiful land of Australia. It’s all systems go for the team from the University of KwaZulu Natal (UKZN) School of Engineering who recently unveiled and launched their improved Solar Car which was shipped to Australia last week for the upcoming race.
They’ve named it “Hulamin”, this solar powered car is the result of two full years of hard-work, commitment and perseverance by the UKZN team, a group consisting of top Engineering students from the university. Although the goal was to qualify as an entrant in the 2015 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge, another motive behind the design was to promote green energy by using innovative and energy efficient engineering. This initiative by UKZN was supported by the HULAMIN aluminium manufacturing company who funded and supported the project.
A whopping 47 teams from 25 countries will be taking part in the race this year, embarking on a 3000 kilometre journey all the way from Darwin to Adelaide. This year, each team will be judged based on the ability to deliver the world’s most efficient electric car. Factors such as charging, vehicle design and the use of sustainable technology will also be taken into consideration.
The Solar Car is only five metres long, weighs less than 250 kilograms (kg) and has a high speed of 115km per hour. It has six square metres of super-high efficiency silicon solar panels to allow it to get energy from the sun. Though there’s tough competition ahead, the team is confident that they will make it. “Not only, is this a landmark event for the University but for the province and the country as a whole. I’m confident that you will come back with a flag flying high, the University is 100% percent behind you and wish you all the luck in the world,” said Dr Albert Van Jaarsveld, UKZN Vice-Chancellor, while giving a message of support to the team.
The event will be held in Australia from 18 to 25 October. We wish the team success, go show the world what Africa is made of!