NWU eyes second record in international solar challenge

NWU eyes second record in international solar challenge

The North West University is aiming to set a new record after accumulating a record of 611km travelled in one day in a solar-powered vehicle by a South African team.

North West Uinversity in solar challenge
Facebook - Sasol Solar Challenge

Currently in fifth place and competing against 11 teams - some international - team Sirius X25 has garnered 611km on day  2, ranking alongside Dutch team Nuon's 707km.

Built from composite materials and propelled by energy sourced via a solar panel on its roof - it's designed to be light on the road, with low energy consumption yet strong enough to protect its occupants. 

This is according to Professor Albert Helberg from the School of Electrical, Electronic and Computer Engineering and Sirius X25 team leader. 

Teams undergo scrutineering procedures - which are gruelling inspection processes before qualifying to compete. What started off as 16 teams has been reduce to 11 teams vying for the overall title.

Both NWU and UKZN were the only South African teams that came out on top during 2014's challenge in Australia - ranking 11th and 13th in the world respectively.

Professor Helberg has explained how the product came about - when it first competed in the Sasol Solar Challenge in 2012. 

"This car was designed completely in-house to the university together with sponsors and a 20-member team of my students. Some of the components are bought however the frame, aerodynamics and electronics were developed at the university," he says.  

The team has also extensively recorded their journey on real-time. 

"We have a delegated team that's following us across the country from Pretoria to Cape Town through every stop. We also have a tracking device in the cars which we sourced from the organiser. Sasol has made sure that it's quite visible so that everyone can follow us," he adds.

Today is day four of the challenge - the event ends on 1 October 2016 at the V&A Waterfront, in Cape Town. 

Here's a look at yesterday's results. 

Sasol Solar Challenge
Sasol Solar Challenge website

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