UCL News


UCL in the News: English car shines at solar-power desert rally

8 November 2007

England's entrant in the world solar-powered car race has returned home triumphant after a gruelling 1,689 mile journey through sand storms and blistering heat.

The challenge saw 38 teams from 19 different countries battle it out on a course covering the length of Australia in their hand-made vehicles, powered only by the sun. …

Although they did not win the challenge, the English team, from UCL, managed a respectable 11th place, crossing the finishing line after 63 hours and 43 minutes.

Their car, SolarFox (CRT), was built for just £70,000, one of the smallest budgets in the contest. …

It was designed and welded together in UCL's engineering workshop and has more than 400 solar cells capable of producing 1,300 watts of energy, powering the vehicle to speeds of 100km per hour. …

Dr Konrad Ciaramella [UCL Mechanical Engineering], from the UCL team, said: "Solar-powered cars could reduce or even eliminate the car industry's contribution toward air pollution.

"While practical solar cars remain a long way off, the continuing development of solar racing cars moves this technology one step closer to reality."

The UCL team faced a sand storm which blew away their camp during the 6th night of the race and forced them to stop altogether on the 7th and penultimate day until conditions settled down. …

Lucy Cockcroft, 'The Daily Telegraph'