TAFE SA’s Solar Spirit III prepares for biggest challenge yet
South Australia’s only competitor in the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge, the TAFE SA Solar Spirit III, has left Adelaide for Darwin this morning (Thursday, September 26) in its final preparations for the event start on 6 October.
The biennial Bridgestone World Solar Challenge sees solar cars from across the world participate in the 3,000 kilometre quest from Darwin to Adelaide.
The design of Solar Spirit III, which has been a part of the Challenge since 2000, has evolved this year. Modifications have been made to meet new technical regulations, as well as an additional challenge set by the TAFE SA staff and student design team to build a car at the lowest cost using everyday technology and parts available to the wider community.
Participating in the event’s inaugural Michelin Cruiser Class, the design and build of the car forms part of student’s core curriculum work with around 100 TAFE SA Electrical, Electronics and Mechanical Engineering students having worked on the project, from initial planning and design stages to construction and testing.
TAFE SA Senior Educational Manager Greg Bassani said participation in the solar car project allowed students to put their renewable and sustainable energy skills and knowledge in to practical application.
“Solar Spirit III will be competing against cars built by overseas universities, many with large research and development budgets – but we are in a different class having built this car recognising what we could achieve practically.”
“The components that we have sourced to build this car are literally off-the-shelf, are readily available and very cost-effective,” Mr Bassani said.
“The planning, design and construction of this car with off-the-shelf components has taught our students practical skills that are transferable, and we hope encourage them to be self-reliant in future employment.”
“Following the conclusion of the last event in late 2011, a review was undertaken in to the vehicle and we began discussing the approach to the next generation of Solar Spirit, which we began planning and building mid last year.”
“We’re very happy with the performance of the car in testing and looking forward to taking on the Challenge and showing our new car to the world.”
Solar Spirit III comfortably seats three adults, demonstrating the possibilities for future energy-efficient modes of transport, with five students rotating driving responsibilities throughout the Challenge.
TAFE SA Solar Spirit III will compete in the 2013 Bridgestone World Solar Car Challenge from 6 – 13 October: http://www.worldsolarchallenge.org.
NOTE: Interviews, vision and photography opportunities with TAFE SA Solar Spirit III team members are available by arrangement.
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