A new world record was set yesterday as the students of The University of New South Wales managed to design and build the fastest solar powered car yet.
Achieving a high speed of a little over 88 km/h (54 miles/h), the UNSW's Sunswift IVy, powered only by silicon solar cells significantly topped the previous 1987 record of 79 km/h and was quick to make it into the Guinness World Book of Records.
The new record was set at 10:32 on the 7th of January at the HMAS Albatross navy base airstrip in Nowra. The Sunswift IVy, weighting only 1/10th of the weight of an average car and equipped with a 98% efficient Brushless CSIRO 3 phase DC motor needs just 1300 watts of solar generated power to achieve it's estimated average speed of 85 km/h. That's approximately the same amount of energy a toaster needs for toasting two pieces of bread.
The drivers for this world record successful attempt were Barton Mawer and Craig Davis, professional racing drivers from the electric car firm Tesla European Operations. "We were confident. We only needed a little bit of sunshine and that was enough," declared Barton Mawer after the event.
The UNSW students invested 18 months in the 280.000$ Ivy project and the result will hopefully "spur a lot more interest in solar energy and the debate about renewable energy technology", said Daniel Friedman, Sunswift's project manager.
Sunswift IVy - World's Fastest Solar Car 2011 Video.