Australian solar car smashes world land speed record

  • PTI
  • Updated: Jul 27, 2014 18:28 IST

An Australian solar car has broken a 26-year-old world speed record, potentially establishing itself as the fastest electric vehicle over a distance of 500 kilometres, on a single battery charge.

The world record was made by a team of University of New South Wales students at a racetrack in Geelong, Victoria.

The car achieved an average speed of more than 100 km/h during the attempt, bettering the previous world record of 73km/h.

However, no definitive numbers can be issued until the record is officially approved by the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA), world motorsport's governing body.

The last time an FIA world record was set in Australia was in April 1984 in a production based petrol engine sedan.

"As a racing driver you always want to be on the podium and it's not everyday you get to break a world record. I really enjoyed hanging out with the team and being part of history," Garth Walden, one of the professional drivers involved in the world record attempt, said.

"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.

The students are from UNSW's Sunswift, Australia's top solar car racing team.

Earlier versions of the Sunswift car have been used to set a world record for the fastest solar powered road trip from Perth to Sydney, and a Guinness World Record for the fastest solar car.

The team hopes the car's performance proves it is ready for day-to-day practical use.

"Five hundred kilometres is pretty much as far as a normal person would want to drive in a single day. It's another demonstration that one day you could be driving our car," Smith said.

The current car uses solar panels on the roof and hood to charge a 60kg battery. However, the panels were switched off during the world-record attempt, leaving the car to run solely on the battery charge.

The vehicle was put to the test on a 4.2 kilometre circular track at the Australian Automotive Research Centre, located about 50 kilometres outside Geelong, Victoria.

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