News

50 cents for 500km: New solar car drives petrol-free future

UNNSW Sunswift solar car project director, former Ballina student, Hayden Smith.
UNNSW Sunswift solar car project director, former Ballina student, Hayden Smith. Contributed Sunswift/Daniel Chen

TWO former Northern Rivers high school students are leading the way in solar car development having just broken a world speed record for an electric vehicle.

The pair, former Xavier student, Hayden Smith, 21, and former Byron Bay High School student, Zuni Dierk, 20, are part of a University of NSW student team who designed, built and raced a solar-powered car that broke a world record with an average speed of more than 100 km/h over a distance of 500km, on a single battery - bettering the previous world record of 73km/h.

The record will now be officially approved by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) - the world motorsport's governing body.

The Sunswift UNSW team broke the record with their eVe car that took 12 months to develop and cost $500,000 to custom build.

About eVe

The team of UNSW undergrad students aged from 19-23 years was ecstatic to have beaten the world record on a Geelong racetrack last week and is now looking to be the first in Australia to register a solar-powered car, project director and software engineering student, Hayden Smith, of Ballina, said.

"It was the biggest payoff for all the work that has been put into the car," Mr Smith said.

"We now want to be the first solar-powered car registered in Australia by next March," he said.

The team hopes the car's performance on the track proves it is ready for day-to-day practical use.

"With the world record we have proved that solar cars can work at freeway speeds over long distances," he said.

"500kms is pretty much as far as a normal person would want to drive in a single day," Mr Smith said.

"It's another demonstration that one day you could be driving our car."

While the car's journey only used 50 cents in grid electricity, this prototype car cost nearly half a million dollars to produce, he said.

"We had to design it from scratch and have specially made moulds produced - that was the most expensive aspect."

While former Byron High student and now renewables engineering student, Zuni Dierk was one of the team's two drivers, Hayden, worked as the team's project director.

"It's been a crazy six months," he said.

The eVe electric car in action.
The eVe electric car in action. Contributed Sunswift/Daniel Chen

About eVe

  • Zero-emission solar and battery storage systems.
  • Uses solar panels on the roof and hood to charge a 60kg battery.
  • Panels were switched off during the world-record attempt, leaving the car to run solely on the battery charge.
  • Car tested on a 4.2km circular track at the Australian Automotive Research Centre, 50kms outside Geelong, Victoria.
  • The UNSW Sunswift team comprises of 60 undergraduate students.
  • Students are drawn from across all engineering disciplines.
  • eVe can carry two people (driver and a passenger)
  • Can travel 500km on a single charge of its lithium-ion batteries
  • Has a top speed of 140km/h
  • Built of ultra-light carbon fibre
  • Prototype cost about $500,000 to build but future vehicles could be built much more cheaply

Topics:  cars, editors picks, electric cars, solar power




Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

'I apologise every day that I am not the person he married'

My battle with postnatal depression...

'My husband lasted 6 weeks as a stay at home dad'

APN Hey Mummy Feature for online - stock images. Katie Dykes being interviewed for the webisodes. Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star

FROM the outside, being a stay at home mum looks like a breeze.

THE EXPERT: Stop judging working mothers

SUPER MUMS: Being a working mums comes down to perfecting time management.

"WORKING for money is all right; so is working because you want to.”

Health and nutrition with kids - how do you balance it?

HOW important is health and nutrition in your household?

Smack or no smack - where do you stand?

THE debate is reignited - is smacking acceptable?

Technology and kids: Do you ever cut their wi-fi?

Check out our new video series featuring mums having a chat

Surfers won't get 'tangled' in shark barrier, says designer

Craig Moss from Eco Shark Barrier, Ballina Surf Club President Craig Nowlan, and Ballina MMayor David Wright at Lighthouse Beach where they hope to install the Eco Shark Barrier.
Photo Cathy Adams / The Northern Star

Shark barrier designer believes the barrier won't pose a hazard.

Nimbin drugs fund 'gangster lifestyle' on Gold Coast

Police officers at the raids in Nimbin yesterday.

UPDATE: Police say gangsters frequented casinos, drove flash cars

Promises, promises...how you can keep our pollies in check

Labor candidate for Page Janelle Saffin

Long lists of promises from the two major parties

Latest deals and offers

PROPERTY BOOM: Coast prices set to skyrocket

Like other areas in south-east Queensland, the Sunshine Coast is at the start of the upturn on the property clock.

Values predicted to rise 25-33%

DIY: How to build a backyard fire pit

DIY stars and Weekend magazine columnists Ayden and Jess Hogan.

Would you build this for your backyard?