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World Solar Challenge - Sunswift Did Us Proud

When the Tokai Challenger, overall winner of the 2009 Global Green Challenge (aka World Solar Challenge) finished nearly a full day ahead of the field, Australia's Sunswift IVy was back in fourth place... and the team from the University of NSW couldn?t have been happier!

By Ross Tester

About Sunswift IVy

Size: 4.6m (l) x 1.8m (h) x 1.8m (w)
(about the same length and width as an average sedan but half the height)

Solar Array: 400 Silicon A300 plus “home-made” UNSW topcells

Power Output: maximum 1300W

Storage: Lithium Polymer cells, 24.75kg

Controller:  Tritium wave sculptor, 20kW power handling, 97% efficient

Motor: Brushless CSIRO 3-phase, 98% efficient, with braking regeneration

Body & Chassis: Carbon-fibre monocoque frame

Suspension: Front – double wishbone; Rear – trailing arm

Brakes: Front – hydraulic dual redundancy, Rear – Handbrake

Steering: Rack and Pinion

Wheels and Tyres: Three carbon fibre wheels with Dunlop Solarma tyres

Performance (Solar only): Maximum Speed 115km/h; average during race 76.28km/h

The Japanese team crossed the control finish line just north of Adelaide at 3.39pm (CDST) on 28 October after a near-faultless run from the start in Darwin. With a maximum vehicle speed of some 150km/h and an average just over 100km/h for the journey, their only incident was a flat tyre which the support team changed almost as fast as a Formula 1 on race day!

Click for larger image
First place overall: Tokai Challenger, Japan

Total elapsed run-time was a miserly 29 hours and 49 minutes.

The win by Tokai Challenger broke the four-race winning record of the Nuna V team from the Netherlands. It finished in second place, at 8.30AM next morning, with the Infinium team from the University of Michigan (USA) crossing the line at 9AM.

Then in fourth place was the first of the Aussie teams, the Sunswift IVy, at 3.08pm. Fifth was another American team, “Eleanor” from the MIT, and sixth place, at 9.10am next day, was the Aurora 101 from the Melbourne-based Aurora Vehicle Association.

A lot of pre-race hype had the British expecting to do very well in their Cambridge University “Endeavour” but unfortunately they came in 14th place, having covered only 1616km of the 3021km course.

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