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A team of students from UNSW has successfully broken a long-standing world land speed record for electric cars over a 500km distance. The Solgen Energy sponsored Sunswift team smashed the record from 1984 by averaging more than 100km/h at a Geelong racetrack in July this year.

Subject to final approval by the FIA (Fédérale Internationale de l’Automobile), the record looks set to have used less than fifty cents worth of electricity in the attempt and will become the first Australian record since 1994. Next stop, the team is looking to make eVe Australia’s 1st Road Legal Solar-Electric Vehicle.

Students within the team are drawn from across all engineering disciplines within UNSW. Their vehicle is the fifth to be built and raced since the team was founded in 1996.

The current car uses solar panels on the roof and hood to charge a 60kg battery. During the world-record attempt the car ran solely on a single battery charge.
“This record was about establishing a whole new level of single-charge travel for high-speed electric vehicles, which we hope will revolutionise the electric car industry” said project director and third-year engineering student Hayden Smith.

By driving the car for 500km and averaging a speed of more than 100km/h, the team wants to demonstrate the car’s performance proves its readiness for day-to-day practical use. “Five hundred kilometres is pretty much as far as a normal person would want to drive in a single day. It’s another demonstration that one day you could be driving our car” added Hayden Smith.

Solgen Energy Director David Naismith commented: “Solgen Energy has a long history of recruiting some of our best and brightest solar engineers from UNSW. This record is testament to the work and dedication of these students and I congratulate them. We look forward to continuing our support of this fantastic student initiative at UNSW”.

In the hope to mainstream the car, the team has also enlisted industrial designers from UNSW Built Environment to rework the interiors and move away from the once overall “alien” design, as they are endeavouring to register Australia’s first road-legal car. They expect to meet Australian road registration requirements in less than a year.

Solgen Energy is proud to be part of this journey and would like to congratulate the entire team.

Watch the video of the event here – 

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