World's fastest solar car smashed Guinness World Record (w/ Video)

Jan 07, 2011

UNSW’s Sunswift solar car has lived up to its name, smashing a Guinness World Record to become the world's fastest solar vehicle.

The car, designed and built by University of New South Wales students, smashed the world speed record at the HMAS Albatross navy base airstrip in Nowra, travelling at more than 88km/h.

The speed was significantly faster than the previous record of 79km/h. The milestone is for cars powered exclusively by silicon solar cells. IVy normally uses its cells to charge a 25kg battery, but this was removed for the record attempt.

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“We broke the record at 10.32 this morning,” said Sunswift project manager Daniel Friedman. “The Guinness World Book of Records adjudicators were on hand, so it’s all official. We’ve even been handed our certificate.”

Friedman said the team was excited that the car performed so well. “We were expecting to get our peak sun at noon, so the fact we broke the record so early was a great result.

“We hope the news will spur a lot more interest in solar energy and the debate about renewable energy technology,” he said.

Sunswift IVy is designed and built by UNSW students. While students are also usually the drivers of the carbon-fibre race vehicle, professional racing driver Barton Mawer and Craig Davis, from electric car firm Tesla’s European operations, were drivers for this attempt.

"We were confident … we only needed a little bit of sunshine and that was enough,” Mawer said.

"I’ve been lucky enough to drive racing cars all around the world but this was right up there as a buzz. To grab the is just great for the whole team, and the University of New South Wales put in a big effort to get this done and hopefully we can keep chipping away at it to raise the bar."

Mawer said the car handled reasonably well, "although I think I gave the team a bit of a scare when I got up on two wheels on the turn".

IVy produces about 1200 watts – the same power it takes to run a toaster. The car hit a top speed of 103km/h during the 3000km Global Green Challenge race from Darwin to Adelaide in 2009, in which the team won their category.

Explore further: Shedding light on solar power

More information: For more information on Sunswift, visit the website.

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User comments : 7

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Glyndwr
1.8 / 5 (4) Jan 07, 2011
love the aussie reaction. above 88km/hr (nearly 55 miles per hour) is pretty good...not quite motorway speed in GB though

"The car hit a top speed of 103km/h during the 3000km Global Green Challenge race" .....i thought the record is now 88km/h...sorry if I am being thick lol
lexington
5 / 5 (3) Jan 07, 2011
World record runs have to be done under the supervision of an official in order to count.
antialias
5 / 5 (3) Jan 07, 2011
88km/h on the epower of a toaster: Now that is pretty good.

@lexington
World record runs have to be done under the supervision of an official in order to count.

And if you'd _read_ the article instead of just commenting you might have noted this passage:
“The Guinness World Book of Records adjudicators were on hand, so it’s all official. We’ve even been handed our certificate.”


that_guy
3.7 / 5 (3) Jan 07, 2011
"The car hit a top speed of 103km/h during the 3000km Global Green Challenge race" .....i thought the record is now 88km/h...sorry if I am being thick lol


Land Speed records for vehicles as measured by guiness are generally average speed over a set distance, such as a mile. That's why the peak speed is more than the average speed needed for the record.
M_N
3 / 5 (4) Jan 07, 2011
"The car hit a top speed of 103km/h during the 3000km Global Green Challenge race" .....i thought the record is now 88km/h...sorry if I am being thick lol

If you'd actually read the article you would have found that they removed the battery for the test, so 88km/h is the speed when only running on solar power. The higher speeds obtained during the race were peak speeds, where power was being drawn from the battery as well as the solar panels.
JoeW
5 / 5 (6) Jan 07, 2011
The 25kg battery pack stores about 4 kWhr. The WSC race allows racing from 8 am to 5 pm, with compulsory check stops. So, from dawn to 8 am and 5pm to sunset, we charge the battery then, while racing we run on battery and array -- especially up hills, when overtaking or under cloud.

And yes, it's tricky to get high speeds when the official timers are there: we had overcast skies and the only clear patch was 2.5 hours before noon, so the record was set with fairly low array power.
Glyndwr
not rated yet Jan 08, 2011
article you would have found that they removed the battery for the test, so 88km/h is the speed when only running on solar power. The higher speeds obtained during the race were peak speeds, where power was being drawn from the battery as well as the solar panels.


Sorry I was very tired my eyes were on the floor

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