A team from the University of New South Wales is hoping the sun will lead them to a Guinness world record for fastest solar-powered vehicle.
The record run is set for Friday on a naval base in the town of Nowra and should be a piece of cake for the team behind the Sunswift IV — affectionately known around campus as IVy. According to theSydney Morning Herald, they already hit 64 mph back in 2009, during a race between Darwin and Adelaide. The current world record is 49 mph, and IVy’s drivers are hoping for 56 mph. That means the sweet taste of victory might just be bitter Vegemite.
IVy is the fourth incarnation of the Sunswift car project, which first formed way back in 1995. Since then, the team racked up a ton of engineering awards, while the Sunswift III (IIIvy?) gained a world record crossing Australia from Perth to Sydney.
IVy, built at a cost of around $180,000 US over the course of 18 months, has about the same footprint of an average car but with half the height. Onboard solar panels generate 1300 watts, which the team proudly notes is the same amount of power needed to toast two pieces of bread.
Instead of pumpernickel, the panels charge a lithium polymer battery that runs the brushless 1800 watt DC motor that turns IVy’s three wheels.