SA records at solar race

2010-10-04 13:38
The Japanese solar vehicle leaves the Stellenbosch checkpoint. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

The Japanese solar vehicle leaves the Stellenbosch checkpoint. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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Cape Town - Several South African race records were set during the SA Solar Challenge, organisers announced at the finish in Pretoria on Saturday.

The race which began Pretoria, headed to Cape Town and finished in Pretoria was designed to promote engineering and alternative energy vehicles, but organisers bemoaned the lack of South African entries in the biennial event
 
The world champion solar car Tokai Challenger from Japan, competing in the Challenge Class, travelled 4 061km - the furthest distance on solar power in a single South African event. It also travelled the furthest distance on solar in a single day, clocking up 565.3km.

This vehicle was without equal in the race and was built with a budget of around $3m.

Part of the reason for the lack of South African entries may lie in the cost to participate.

Furthest distance

"Teams pay their own bills, and it costs about R80 000 for an entry level car, plus another R20 000 to R40 000 for support vehicle. Avis has come to the party in a big way this year, but we need more sponsors to get on board," race director Winstone Jordaan told News24.

Pretoria entry Star Track covered the furthest distance for a South African entry on solar in a single event (728.3km) and a new day record for distance covered on solar (125.5km) by a South African vehicle.

In the Technology Class (petrol/hydrogen fuel cell hybrids), the University of Johannesburg's Bar-1 hybrid vehicle travelled the furthest distance in a single South African event, with 1 845.4km, and the furthest distance in a day (472.3km).

This was the only South African university entry and the vehicle was built in just under six months.

"We're capable (of building a vehicle like the Japanese), but they've got a budget of €2m, whereas our budget was R300 000. Vodacom has sponsored our communications, and we have to start somewhere," project manager Marco Fürruter told News24.


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