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Author: Science Alert Staff
Date: 28 July 2014

eVe – SunSwift World Solar Challenge race car – University of New South Wales (UNSW) CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

On Monday a team of students from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in Australiabroke a 26-year-old world electric car record using a solar car known as Sunswift eVe. This car became the fastest electric car to complete a 500 km distance course. 

The Sunswift eVe, Australia’s fastest sun-powered race car, achieved an average speed of more than 100 km/h. The previous record was 73 km/h. The new record, however, still needs to be ratified by the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), but there shouldn’t be any issues. 

“This record was about establishing a whole new level of single-charge travel for high-speed electric vehicles, which we hope will revolutionise the electric car industry,” said project director and third-year engineering student Hayden Smith.

This is the fifth iteration of the Sunswift eVe. An earlier version was used in a journey from Perth to Sydney to set a world record for the fastest solar powered road trip.

The car has solar panels on the roof and the hood to charge a 60 kg battery. The panels, however, were switched off on Monday, when the record was broken in Geelong, Victoria, and the car relied solely on the battery charge.

But there’s more to the potential of solar vehicles than just breaking records. 

As UNSW reports: “No secret has been made of Sunswift’s long-term goals for the car. They expect it to meet Australian road registration requirements within as little as one year, and have previously said its zero-emission solar and battery storage systems make it ‘a symbol for a new era of sustainable driving’.

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