back to article World Solar Challenge contender claims new speed record

The University of New South Wales' Sunswift, the third-placed car in the Cruiser class of the 2013 World Solar Challenge, claims to have set a new record for the swiftest single-charge traversal of a 500km course. The record attempt took place on Wednesday at the Automotive Research Centre's 4.2km track. Sunswift travelled …

  1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

    Please do tell UNSW that all future record attempts are invalid unless a playmonaut observer is included on the trip to verify events for Vulture Central.

    (Also: good job those guys!)

    1. Salts

      Sorry TP,

      Think of the extra weight of the playmonaut :-)

      Perhaps a special project using a quad-copter from el reg, or from space with vulture 2, but no extra grams, please, that could make such a difference :-)

      (Yep: good job those guys, Good Oh, as we used to say)

  2. Russell Hancock

    Tesla S?

    First things first, well done... Any advance in this area is great.


    The Tesla S, in it's top spec is rated for 320ish miles at 60mph - that is more or less the same as this and I am sure that the Tesla is more comfortable and already road legal...


    What have I missed? Please enlighten me as so far this article does not tell me why this is better than the rest...

    1. Neil 8

      Re: Tesla S?

      The difference is that this can recharge from its own solar panels - See

      However (although I could have missed it) the article seems strangely silent on how long that would take exactly.

    2. Salts

      Re: Tesla S?

      My dear boy :-)

      Much as I have great affection for Elon Musk and his great endeavours and believe he wears his underpants on the outside of his tights(honest the man is a hero, no sarcasm, I am a fan)

      This is after all just good research, using a lot less money.


    3. A Dawson

      Re: Tesla S?

      Hi Russ just to be clear the Tesla S 60KWh is rated for 200 (208 actually) miles (around 320km) and the 85KWh is rated for 265 miles (426km)

      All at and average speed of 20 mph (32km/h) max of 56mph but including stop start *which with regenerative braking is less of a issue than with petroleum cars - but still not apples to apples.

      1. Russell Hancock

        Re: Tesla S?

        @A Dawson - The "P85" spec is 312 - with the "performance plus" it is 318 - 324 miles ( Whilst i agree that the driving cycle is different for their stats the Tesla is "start stop" driving which uses more energy than a steady 60 around a test track...

        I just think the article did not explain why this is a record? does it only run on a single 9V battery? does it have 1/10th the amount of batteries that the Tesla does? can it be built in a garden shed?

        @Neil 8 - i agree about the solar panels but the article states that these were turned off during the test so in this case they make no difference (although i am sure if they were on it would make a difference)...

        @Salts - Agree, they probably did spend a lot less money and that is a good thing. The article needs to give more info of the specifics of how this was achieved - less money, smaller batteries, more efficient motors, new technology? what does it add... The article needs to give a bit more "meat" on the bones of it...

        1. Dave 62

          Re: Tesla S?

          Actually "start stop" driving does not effect the efficiency of electric cars in the same way it does for IC cars, the engine doesn't keep running while it's stationary. Ok, sure, you have to accelerate again, but how quickly and to what speed? I dare say shuffling along going 0-10-0-10-0-10 uses less energy than holding a constant 100 and while you can argue that force has to be applied to accelerate you have to remember that the F required to hold a speed is proportional to the square of the speed (for aerodynamic drag) and so even if you are accelerating up to 100, until you reach 100 that component of the force is lower than if you were constantly travelling at 100.

          There's also the KERS factor, if you are slowing down you are recovering energy, not all of it of course, but some.

          1. Russell Hancock

            Re: Tesla S?

            @Dave62 - true about the electric motors having less issue with the stop start cycle... i know that a couple of cars i have had (the MG TF especially) was most efficient cruising at 50 MPH - at that speed i could get close to 50MPG, doing 10 - 20 MPH i would only get 20 - 30 MPG so not sure how that would change on an electric car - does the Tesla (or this car) use 10% more power per 10 MPH speed? i.e. doing this at half the speed it would have gone twice as far?

            What i would love to see is the Tesla do the exact same thing and see which dies first! i also would like to see the same thing done again but with the solar panels turned ON - so i can understand what extra benefit these give - 10 miles, 100 miles, 1000 miles...

    4. Russell Hancock

      Re: Tesla S?

      @Myself - Also want to re-iterate my first point...

      WELL DONE...

      (not trying to p on their parade, just want to know what they have done that will make it possible for me to personally own a nice new electric car that can get me the 350 miles i drive each way to customers most weeks without having to stop for an hour along the way...)

    5. Scoular

      Re: Tesla S?

      Whilst I admire the work done the vehicle is a stripped down test vehicle.

      A stripped down Tesla S might go close to matching it. It is a pretty heavy luxury car which the test vehicle certainly is not.

      Stop start driving knocks the hell out of fuel consumption or batteries even with some KERS. This is true even if there is little to no sitting at traffic lights etc. Just accelerating or even going up hills takes a lot of energy and a fair bit of that is not recovered. Energy consumption at more or less constant speed on a flat track or road is significantly lower with electric of liquid fuel vehicles.

  3. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Thumb Up

    The Solar Challeng has come a *long* way since it started

    And so have the cars.

    Which was the point.

    Thumbs up for this

  4. dervheid

    How far?


    Please define what a 'kms' is, as it does not appear to be a standard SI unit of measurement.

    1. Robert Helpmann??

      Re: How far?

      Please define what a 'kms' is, as it does not appear to be a standard SI unit of measurement.

      500 km = 3,571,428.5714285714285714285714286 lg

      give or take

  5. alain williams Silver badge

    The link Sunswift in the article

    takes you to something about sitting being bad for you. What is the relevance of this? OK: the study was done at Uni of NSW, but still hardly relevant ???

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Quick bit of reasearch found

    On a single charge of its batteries, eVe can travel up to 500 km (310 mi) or over 800 km (500 mi) if powered by its own solar cells. Once fully depleted, the batteries can be completely recharged in 10 hours using a standard household power socket or in under 7 hours using a commercial power socket. In terms of cost and efficiency, for every 100 km the solar car would cost approximately $0.20 compared to the average $15 for conventional petrol powered cars.

    and the battrery pack is 16 kW/h

    1. stu 4

      Re: Quick bit of reasearch found

      that's the 'female' robot out of WallE yeh ?

      I mean, that's good going an' all.. just wondering what the relevance is.

  7. Faux Science Slayer

    PV and other green meanie schemes....

    Photovoltaics is a crude, one time, one way molecular erosion parlor trick, see "Green Prince of Darkness" at the FauxScienceSlayer site.

    Chemical storage batteries have constant erosion and a maximum of 400 recharge cycles. Only massive subsidies, fossil fueled production and lap dog media hype keep these dead end technologies viable in the minds of the under informed masses.

    1. Holtsmark Silver badge

      Re: PV and other green meanie schemes....

      "Chemical storage batteries have constant erosion and a maximum of 400 recharge cycles".

      How strange.. I am sitting here next to a 12 kWh LiIon battery with more than 4500 cycles and a chemical aging lifespan of more than 25 years in North European conditions, 8 of which has already been proven with customers in the field. ..And the reason why I am sitting next to it is that as a technical solution for my application it well and truly beats internal combustion (even in total system weight).

      "Only massive subsidies, fossil fueled production and lap dog media hype keep these dead end technologies viable in the minds of the under informed masses"

      Please re-inform yourself.

  8. imanidiot Silver badge


    I bet that test driver was getting bored quite rappidly. 500 km on a 4.2 km track is nearly 120 laps... And 100 km hour isn't really such a high speed that it keeps you on your toes.

    1. Craigie

      Re: Dizzy

      Except I'm sure they will have been trying to drive as efficiently as possible, which does take a lot of concentration.

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