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  • Writer's picturePacific Sun Technologies

Solar-powered car breaks world record in efficiency during 4,100 km Australian trip

electric solar powered car

As advancements are made in both photovoltaic technology and solar-powered car design, efficiency rates have been skyrocketing. Nowhere has this been more apparent, or exciting, than in the field of solar-powered racing.

A team from the University of NSW just obliterated the previous solar-powered car efficiency record. The students crossed Australia from Perth to Sydney on just $50 worth of electricity.

Record setting solar-powered car

UNSW (University of New South Wales) students on the Sunswift team built the solar-powered electric car with the goal of breaking the previous 5.5 kWh/100 km record.

They ended up blowing well past their goal, using just 3.25 kWh/100 km. That’s around 25 times more efficient than an average car in the US (at 25 MPGe) and nearly 5 times more efficient than a Tesla Model 3 (at 170 MPG).

The solar-powered car, affectionately named ‘Violet’ by the team, traveled the 4,100 km (2,550 miles) in 6 days, averaging around 600 km (370 mi) and 20-24 kWh per day. Not too shabby considering the on-board storage battery is only rated for 10-20 kWh and the team charged solely by solar power.

To put that in perspective, I’ve paid more for a single tank of gas than the cost of electricity used by this car to cross an entire continent.

The team faced an uphill battle to achieve their record, according to Create Digital. Obstacles along the journey included both a battery fire and a rear suspension failure, making the feat even more impressive. Yet despite the setbacks, the team reached the finish line 2 days ahead of schedule.

According to the mechanical team leader and mechanical engineering student Courtney Morris:

“It’s always so nerve-racking to see the car that you built with your own hands on the road. I’m always afraid that something could change at any moment, but it all went pretty well and the team dynamic was great.”</