Powering up for World Solar Challenge

Sep 26, 2019



Measuring almost 11 metres in length and decked out in bright red signage, TAFE SA’s entry in the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge is hard to miss.

The SAV (Solar Articulated Vehicle) – a cruiser cab and eight-metre trailer – has been developed with the generous support of sponsor, REDARC Electronics, at Lonsdale.

It is one of 53 entrants in this year’s Bridgestone World Solar Challenge, which left Darwin on October 13.

Competitors will cover more than 3000km before crossing the finish line in Adelaide.

TAFE SA students and staff as well as students and teachers from St Patrick’s Technical College have been involved in the project, which has taken shape over the past 12 months.

The trailer is a departure from the two standard categories of the solar challenge, putting the experimental SAV into the ‘Adventurer’ classification.

In 2017, TAFE SA set a precedent by entering the cab of the SAV in the challenge. We’re pushing the boundaries again this year with the addition of the trailer.

The new-look SAV has 15 solar panels on the trailer and one on the cab, while the battery system has been designed by former TAFE SA electronics student Will Farina, who is now an apprentice at REDARC.

Team manager Mark Ready says they wanted to show it was possible to create a fully solar-powered articulated vehicle which could be used for long distance freight haulage.

“The challenge with alternative vehicles is to provide enough energy for them to travel long distances,” he says.

“Our approach was to prove it could be done. We’ve created a solid example of a portable power station.

“It could be used as an alternative to a diesel generator for large rural properties and the design is adaptable for caravan and camping needs.

“We hope it inspires people and helps them see what is possible. It’s an efficient design that people can identify with.”

The Bridgestone World Solar Challenge runs from October 13-20.