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Solar Vehicles: The Challenge of Maximum Speed From Minimal Power

[+] Author Affiliations
Simon Watkins

Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Melbourne, VIC, Australia

Clive Humphris

Ford Motor Company of Australia, Campbellfield, VIC, Australia

Paper No. FEDSM2002-31245, pp. 1009-1014; 6 pages
  • ASME 2002 Joint U.S.-European Fluids Engineering Division Conference
  • Volume 2: Symposia and General Papers, Parts A and B
  • Montreal, Quebec, Canada, July 14–18, 2002
  • Conference Sponsors: Fluids Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 0-7918-3616-9 | eISBN: 0-7918-3600-2
  • Copyright © 2002 by ASME


The World Solar Challenge is a race from Darwin to Adelaide which attracts purpose-built vehicles from around the world. Using only power from the sun, the vehicles reach speeds of over 100 km/hr and the current record holder averaged a speed of over 90 km/hr. In this paper the background to the race and some of the technology used is described. Since aerodynamic drag is the major resistance to motion, this is examined in detail, including the testing and design principles applied to the Australian “Aurora” vehicle which won the race in 1999 and came second in 2001. A highly efficient electric motor, developed specifically for the Aurora is also described.

Copyright © 2002 by ASME



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