UNSW's solar car Jaycar Sunswift III has today broken Dick Smith's world record for the fastest solar powered road trip from Perth to Sydney.
The UNSW Solar Racing Team, which includes 11 students, the solar car and three support vehicles, left Perth's Scarborough Beach at 7am on Wednesday 10 January. For the past 5 days they have traveled about 700km per day, averaging speeds of between 70 and 80km per hour.
Finishing their journey in Sydney this morning, they beat the previous record by a massive 3 days.
Jaycar Sunswift III completed the trip using nothing but solar radiation for fuel. What took 20 days about 25 years ago, when the original record was set, took the UNSW team just over 5 days thanks to 10 years of research and development along with advances in solar technology, aerodynamic design and materials.
On the other hand, Australia's top selling car, the Holden Commodore, is now less fuel efficient than the Model T Ford from the turn of last century. Trends such as this only worsen the climate change problem evidently failing to be addressed by manufacturers, consumers and government alike.
Yael Augarten, Project Leader of the UNSW Solar Racing Team, said of the trip: "We have demonstrated with Jaycar Sunswift III that the future of transport is not with 100-year-old technology, but rather with innovative thought, light materials, efficient electric drive and solar power."
"We've crossed a continent which is heavily dependant on fossil fueled road transportation. But, for our solar car, we didn't spend a cent on fuel, with Australia's vast solar energy resource acting as an asset, not a burden. With this in mind, along with the reality of climate change and tightening oil supplies, it is clearly time to start thinking outside the box on transportation issues."
To organise interviews or photographs of the team, or for more information on the record attempt, please call Ryan McCarthy on 0412 737 363 or 0429 364 210.