What travels at over 80 kph and uses no more energy than a basic hairdryer? The answer is Daphne, the solar-powered car being developed by Cambridge University Eco Racing (CUER) team to take part in the World Solar Challenge.
Two members of that team were at Loughborough Grammar School on Friday 15th March to tell the whole school about the challenge to produce a car which could complete a gruelling 3,000 km marathon across the heart of Australia from Darwin to Adelaide in October 2013 – using only the power of the sun.
Andrew Zhao and Yang Lu, former students at the school, brought with them an earlier solar car called Endeavour which achieved a very respectable 14 place out of the 26 entrants in 2009. They demonstrated Endeavour to admiring pupils in the Quadrangle at the mid-morning break, despite persistent rain, and were clearly in their element answering questions from eager would-be engineers.
They also brought with them a scale model of their latest car, Daphne, which embraces a radically different design to that of all their competitors and with which they hope to be amongst the top three finishers in the race which will be held in the second week of October this year.
Andrew (CUER’s Head of Media Production) and Yang (CUER’s Technical Director) are not the only former students of the school involved in the engineering project: Greg Steele and Ghassan Dhifallah are also members of the sixty-strong team, establishing a very strong foothold for the Grammar School in Cambridge University’s engineering department.
For further information about the World Solar Challenge, please go to the website http://www.worldsolarchallenge.org