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Western Sydney University has unveiled its new solar car, which will compete at the 2017 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge in October.
The University’s School of Computing, Engineering and Mathematics and the Solar Car Team unveiled UNLIMITED 2.0 at a special event on the Parramatta South campus.
UNLIMITED 2.0 is reminiscent of predecessor UNLIMITED – the team’s vehicle for the 2015 World Solar Challenge – with its deep red coloration and catamaran style body. However, in many ways it is a departure from the team’s previous vehicles.
The 4.58 m long, 1.4 m wide UNLIMITED 2.0 has a sleek, aerodynamic, futuristic design with a compact, narrow chassis, long, pointed nose, shortened rear and pearlescent paint.
“Our aim this year was to build the fastest car we possibly could, to put everything we have into this car to challenge for first position,” says Project Lead Saami Bashar. “Our main design philosophy was to generate a very organic body shape. We’ve managed to eliminate the rear overhang and make the fairings much shorter and narrower, while still maintaining enough space to squeeze in the driver, mechanics and electronics.”
“The design was certainly challenging – our team have been pushed to their limits, working up to the wire continually re-evaluating and redesigning the braking, suspension and battery systems to make optimum use of space and remove any unnecessary weight.”
Grace Mitchell, the Graphics Design Lead for the team, says another departure from the previous cars was the use of paint on the exterior of UNLIMITED 2.0, compared to vinyl wrapping used in the past.
“Paint provides a much smoother surface, which allows the car to slip through the air with minimal disturbance,” Mitchell explains. “We are so pleased with the result of the paint job. The pearlescent gloss finish is stunning.”
Bashar says UNLIMITED 2.0 will help to ensure that the Western Sydney University Solar Car Team is not overlooked as a real contender in the 2017 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge.
“We’ve worked very hard to refine our design,” Bashar says. “Every minute detail has been thoroughly examined and iterated upon, to produce a car that is lighter and far more efficient. Other teams are sure to notice some of the smaller details of the car – such as the braked carbon motor frame or the combined trailing edge – which hints at the pride with which we undertake our work, and how serious we are about this competition.”
Image provided by Western Sydney University / Sally Tsoutas
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