Cantabs Kickstart Vehicle for Solar-Powered Race

Cambridge students attempt to win big with a solar-powered vehicle.

Australia challenge eco kickstart kickstarter powered race racing solar Team vehicle world

A team of Cambridge of students are competing in a global challenge to build an advanced solar powered vehicle which can race in a 3000km race across the outback. 

The Cambridge University Eco Racing team is currently refining and completing their design in preparation for the World Solar Challenge race in 2013.

The race, which is held every two years, stretches across Australia from Darwin in the north down to Adelaide in the south. Around 40 teams enter to fight to be across the finish line first.

A mock-up of CUER’s teardrop-shaped vehicle design

The Cambridge team works on a far smaller scale than the majority of the others. Helena Barman, a liaison for the team told The Tab: “It’s a real David and Goliath story here. The teams we’re competing with are working with a 5-10 million pound budget, and we have half a million.”

The team have launched a Kickstarter campaign to help raise the funds they need to complete the challenge. Barman said “I think we can win it. But we’ve currently got a £10,000 cash shortfall.”

For the past twelve years the designs have all been similar following a table top design. However, this year the Cambridge team decided to break from convention and have adopted a tear drop shape, decreasing the amount of solar panelling but ultimately making the design more efficient.

The team’s design is 40% less powerful than competitor’s cars but is 30 kg lighter than any vehicle ever entered into the competition.