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Western Sydney University (WSU) has won the American Solar Challenge (ASC), becoming the first international solar car team to win the competition.
The Australian team won four out of five stages of the 2800 km challenge, a global race which sees international university competitors travel across four US states from Nebraska to Oregon.
Manager of the School of Computing, Engineering and Mathematics at WSU, Michael Walsh, says the achievement is incredible, especially considering the university’s small team.
“Most teams had about 20 to 30 people,” he explains. “Western Sydney University had a small team of just 14, making the win even more amazing. The race was also physically gruelling for the Western students, alumni and volunteers involved in making sure the car was ready to race each day. Successfully completing the American Solar Challenge is a hugely rewarding accomplishment and has required over a year of intense focus and hard work from every team that enters the race.”
The team clocked up 1700 miles in its carbon fibre composite car, UNLIMITED 2.0, racing each day and then performing maintenance and charging the vehicle each night. The heat, dust, steep mountain climbs, narrow canyons and hurtling descents also proved no problem for the WSU Solar Car Team, which only lost one stage of the race to the University of Michigan due to a flat tyre and electrical issues.
The Western Sydney University Solar Car Team was well equipped for the challenge, having recently competed in a 3000 km trek from Darwin to Adelaide as part of the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge (BWSC) in October 2017.
The WSU Solar Car Team is a student-led project. The team is comprised of students from the fields of engineering, industrial design and visual communications, who manage every aspect of the production and design of the vehicle as well as sponsorships, marketing and the administrative elements of their involvement in challenges. The team is supported by the University’s School of Computing, Engineering and Mathematics (SCEM).
Image provided by WSU
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