A team of 14 college students have just set a Guinness world record with a solar-powered car that drove across Australia in 6 days using only $50 worth of energy.
The car, which has affectionally been named Violet, broke the record for using the lowest amount of energy on a cross-country drive earlier this month after it traveled roughly 2,500 miles (4,100 kilometers) from Perth to Sydney – and it arrived at its destination two days ahead of schedule.
The car was designed by the student-led Sunswift team at the University of New South Wales.
“I’m so excited we made it,” said 20-year-old Courtney Morris, a mechanical engineering student involved with the project. “It’s always so nerve-wracking to see the car that you built with your own hands on the road; I’m always afraid that something could change at any moment, but it all went pretty well and the team dynamic was great.”
To set the record, the team had to keep the car’s energy consumption to under 5.5 kilowatt hours (kWh) for every 62 miles. Actual energy consumption throughout the journey was an average of 3.25kWh per 62 miles, which is about 17 times less than an average Australian car.
By traveling an average of 372 miles (600 kilometers) a day, Violet used about the same energy per day as that of a standard household. When the vehicle is coasting at just 37 miles per hour (60kph), it uses about the same amount of energy as a four slice toaster.
“These students have pushed the boundaries of modern engineering and proven that solar powered cars are likely to be a big part of Australia’s motoring future,” said UNSW Dean of Engineering Professor Mark Hoffman, who was waiting for the students at the finish line.
“They worked extremely hard to prepare for this journey and despite setbacks, they’ve shown resilience, bounced back like professionals and got on with the job. This is what a university degree should entail – actual, hands-on experience and overcoming real-world challenges. I am incredibly proud of the calibre of young adults we have studying here at UNSW. A wholehearted congratulations to every one of you.”
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