Student-designed car tops the class in solar mission

The successful Western Sydney University team at the finish line in Adelaide.
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Western Sydney University’s Solar Car team with their student-designed car, UNLIMITED 5.0, has placed ninth in the world, and an impressive first in Australia in their class, in the world’s most prestigious solar car challenge.

They were also the only Australian team to complete the Darwin to Adelaide journey in full.

Successfully traversing 3,000km of rugged outback terrain, the team completed the 2023 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge in 46 hours, 32 minutes and six seconds, crossing the finish line just after 2pm on Friday, October 27.

They competed for the fifth time in the Challenger Class, which is the most competitive class requiring teams to produce a high-quality single-seat car built for sustained endurance and energy efficiency.

Team Manager, Brad Nadalini, said he was incredibly proud of the team’s performance and thanked all of the team’s families, supporters and partners.

“Our spirit and determination were really on show throughout the challenge and brought us home. This year’s solar car, UNLIMITED 5.0, had one of the most ambitious and innovative designs – and this was reflected in our performance this year,” he said.

With support from the School of Engineering, Design and Built Environment, Western Sydney University’s solar car team this year delivered their most cutting-edge vehicle layout to date.

UNLIMITED 5.0 features a three-wheeled design, with aluminium suspension and a carbon fibre chassis manufactured entirely in-house by the student team. The car’s top speed is 130km/h and took two years to design, engineer and manufacture. It can travel 400km using the same amount of energy a Tesla needs to travel 26km.

Team Mechanical Engineer, Nina Walters, who is in her second year of studying a Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) at the University, said the car performed exceptionally well, overcoming a few minor challenges early on to finish strong.

“It’s a brutal and dynamic competition but we were really proud of how UNLIMITED 5.0 performed and of how much ground we were able to make up – the result really cements the car as world-class,” she said.

The Western Sydney University Solar Car team wishes to acknowledge the support from its sponsors for 2023. These include Phoenix Contact, Abergeldie, Australian Racing Drivers Club, Bridgestone, and Revolution Software Services.

The Solar Car team is made up of 25 students from the fields of engineering, communications, business, IT, computer, and science. They manage every aspect of the production and design of the vehicle, as well as sponsorship, marketing and the administrative elements of their involvement in international competitions.

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