Durham University Solar Car (DUSC) students will be setting off on the sun-powered adventure this autumn when the takes part in the World Solar Challenge, later this year.

Using nothing but solar power, the DUSC team will travel 1,864 miles (3,000km) from Darwin in the north of Australia to Adelaide in the south.

The solar car used in the race (pictured) will this month leave from Southampton to Australia for the race which isscheduled to take place between October 16 and 23.

The vehicle, which can reach speeds of up to 60mph, has been built from the ground up at Durham University, with key elements such as the in-wheel drive motor and flexible solar panels, developed as student research projects.

Durham University academic advisor to the project, Dr David Sims-Williams, said: “The World Solar Challenge pushes teams to develop high-efficiency vehicles, which is the real key to reducing the emissions of everyday vehicles. These cars have to be able to drive at highway speed all day with less power than an electric kettle.

“The students have led the project and it will be a tremendous experience for them to put what they have learned at Durham into practice against some of the best solar cars in development when they take part in the competition.”

The car previously took part in the 2008 North American Solar Challenge when it was the only UK entrant in the 2,400 mile (3,862km) race from Dallas to Calgary, where they took ‘top rookie team’, as the highest placed new team.

Luke Walsh

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