TAFE SA Solar Spirit

History

Solar Car History

TAFE SA has an ongoing committment to solar vehicle competition beginning in 1999 with support for a high school fielding a solar boosted trike.

The team is now developing our competition vehicle for the 2017 challenge and taking Solar Spirit to expos and field days.

TAFESA has built and raced 3 solar cars since 1999: one (NED) in partnership with University of SA, Kelly by TAFE SA, and SolarSpirit by TAFESA. Kelly was very successful in the past, on a limited budget and powered by sun and a dedicated group of volunteers. TAFE SA Solar Spirit is the current solar car built by TAFE SA with the support of industry which is very competitive in World Solar Challenge Cruiser Class.

Our earlier vehicle "Kelly" was very successful across a span of ten years in the race field, education and public relations appearances. 'Kelly' was originally constructed as a project to improve on the original vehicle, 'Ned', which was designed and manufactured by the South Australian Solar Car Consortium of Uni SA. In 2007 Kelly entered the Adventure class category: The 2007 event had 52 entries from 23 countries with Challenge, Adventure and Technology categories.

The Adventure category enables a more flexible approach to vehicle specifications with involvement as an adventure.

Kelly's participation in the World Solar Challenge:
2007: 10th Adventure class
2005: 2nd place in Production class (12th place overall)
2003: 1st place in Production class (8th place overall)
2001: entered (due to technical difficulties, did not get a placing)

In 2010 Kelly was recycled and became the basis (chassis, suspension and steering) for the present vehicle, SolarSpirit which is a 3 seater Cruiser.

TAFESA has been providing Renewable Energy studies since 2002 to licenced electricians and is seeking Business Council of Sustainable Energy (BCSE) accreditation to carry out installation work, as well training for those with a personal interest in this emerging field.

Student research and development projects currently underway include redesigning the dashboard instrumentation, battery management and the integration of two motor controllers. Further research is being carried out into the solar panel array as well as the electronic solar optimisers to ensure maximum energy from the sun is captured.

Educational Aims of the project are to:

  • take science and technology to students to encourage and foster their interest in future developments in alternative energies;
  • encourage students to research, design and build vehicles powered by renewable energy;
  • ensure that student projects incorporate educational concepts and are able to be competency assessed by the performance of each stage. Competencies link to Certificates II and IV in Electrotechnology, focussing on renewable energy;
  • promote alternative/renewable energy to the community and to encourage career decisions towards Electrotechnology related training/employment, particularly to design and manufacture solar, wind, fuel cell or electric vehicles

TAFESA Solar Spirit PrototypeTAFESA has been providing Renewable Energy studies since 2002 to licensed electricians seeking Business Council of Sustainable Energy (BCSE) accreditation to carry out installation work, as well as training for those with a personal interest in this emerging field. Development of appropriate links with industry bodies, in pursuit of/and maintenance of related process and product goals, remain the focus of the Renewable Energy Center.
 
Promotional activities for the TAFE SA solar car include input to and delivery of seminars, exposure at career open days and Science, Technology and Energy related expos, and specifically in participation in the Challenge.