Next weekend a team of students from the University of NSW will set out to break a Guinness World Record, crossing Australia in a solar racing car known as Violet.
Violet is the 6th generation solar-powered car developed by the UNSW Sunswift team of undergraduate students, who hail from a diverse range of fields from engineering to industrial design to the arts and business.
A streamlined vehicle with all the bells and whistle of a standard car – air conditioning, reversing cameras and parking sensors, Violet is distinguished from Sunswift’s previous vehicles in that it can seat up to four people and is a “family-oriented” vehicle.
Yet it is also designed to face the world’s toughest solar racing conditions, and in a bid to demonstrate its abilities, the Sunswift team will set out on December 1 to drive Violet across the gruelling long journey from Perth to Sydney.
And they’re off! 🏎️
Good luck to the @UNSWEngineering Solar Racing Team Sunswift who left for Perth this morning to make a Guinness World Record attempt for the ‘Lowest energy consumption driving trans-Australia (Perth to Sydney) – electric car’. pic.twitter.com/t51o9KrbgH
— UNSW (@UNSW) November 21, 2018
The team is hoping the trans-continental drive will earn Violet the Guinness World title of most efficient electric car – and it is not the team’s first world record.
In July 2014, the Sunswift team broke the record for fastest electric vehicle over 500km on a single charge, driving eVe, its 5th generation solar racing car.
The team has also previously competed in the 3000km Darwin to Adelaide Bridgestone World Solar Challenge, becoming the fastest competitor in the 2013 challenge (but placing 3rd), in which it was also awarded Line Honours in the Cruiser Class.
In 2009, its 4th gen Sunswift IV was the winner of the Solar Cell Class.
An unfortunate rear suspension failure caused the team to drop out of the 2017 challenge, and they are now looking forward to preparing Violet to compete in the upcoming 2019 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles for two years. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.