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Britain's World Solar Challenge Entry - Bethany


by Energy Matters

Solar powered car - Brethany
Imagine a vehicle that could travel at a hundred kilometres an hour on around the same energy as a hair dryer uses. That's what the Cambridge University Eco Racing (CUER) team have achieved with their new solar-powered racing car design, currently codenamed 'Bethany'.

Bethany will be an entrant in Australia's World Solar Challenge and will be up against some stiff competition, not just from home-grown projects but those from overseas such as MIT's solar powered car called "Eleanor"

Weighing just 160kg and covered in 6 square meters of the world's most efficient silicon solar cells, CUER's engineering team has systematically reduced energy usage for each component of the car to the point it uses up to 50 times less power than a normal petrol vehicle car; and with potentially infinite range.

Technologies used include a 98% efficient electric hub motor, control systems providing battery management and regenerative braking, lightweight mechanical design, and carbon fibre composite bodywork.

Bethany is by no means a luxury vehicle and the drivers will undergo months of training to cope with Australia's weather conditions and the awkward seating position. Perhaps one of the greatest challenges for the drivers will be boredom as they make their way across the sun-baked outback as during the race they will only be required to steer the car and stay alert as the vehicle's advanced cruise control system  will automatically adjust its speed according to conditions.

You can learn more about Cambridge University Eco Racing and their solar powered car projects here.



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