One day, 30 students from a German university decided to make a solar-powered car. They all put their mechatronics, computer science, mechanical and electrical engineering knowledge at work and came up with a prototype. Then they searched for a solar panel manufacturer to back up their project and came up with a very viable model of a solar car.
As if that wasn’t enough, the solar car had a higher purpose in life than just to serve regular consumers: it was meant to beat a world record!
This is actually the story of the SolarWorld GT, the solar car that resulted from the coming together of the Bochum University of Applied Sciences and the SolarWorld company.
The car resembles very much the car parked in your garage: its dimensions are pretty much the same, but its weight drops at 260 kilograms (573 lbs) and has an equally low drag coefficient of just 0.14. The two-seater is equipped with solar panels built into its roof, which are capable of producing around 823 watts of clean energy.
Now how about that record it brags about? Well, at an average speed of 50 km/h (31 mph) or a top one of 100 km/h (62 mph), the SolarWorld GT plans to drive 34,000 kilometers, or 21,080 miles.
The itinerary was set last October from Darwin, Australia and will cross the US starting this weekend from the University of California in Santa Barbara. After covering Europe, Asia and Africa, the car will touch its finish line back in Darwin.