With the goal of having their solar-powered race car on the streets of Sydney by July this year, a student team from Australia’s University of New South Wales is hard at work.
Sunswift eVe, as the car is called, will have to be completely redesigned to comply with the Australian Design Rules’ official car reliability and safety standards.
To make it the first road-legal solar car in the Southern Hemisphere, the team of volunteers are taking a second look at everything from the suspension to the windscreen and headlights.
When Mashable last wrote about eVe, the vehicle had just smashed international speed records. In 2014, overseen by the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile — the governing body for motor sports — the team broke the world record for the fastest electric car over 500km on a single charge.
“The aim of the record was to prove that electric cars can travel very long distances at high speeds,” Rob Ireland, the team’s business manager, told Mashable Australia at the CeBIT technology conference in Sydney on Wednesday, but now the team needs to build a solar car the average person could drive.
“We’ve proven the car can do all these cool things, but can it be commercial? Can anybody drive this car everyday to work? That’s the question,” he said.
Cost is one of the team’s main challenges. As it stands, the prototype vehicle is quite expensive at about A$500,000 in value. If you were to mass produce the car, the cost would definitely drop, Ireland said.
The team estimates it will take almost A$100,000 to make the car road legal. While they have financial support from the university and sponsors, they have also completed a successful crowd funding campaign on Pozible, raising over A$36,000.