The first solar-powered car in Estonia was built from scratch by students of the educational project Solaride; the car will be participating in a solar car race in Morocco in late October.
The car was built by students from 12 different Estonian schools and universities, under the supervision of the engineering mentors.
Building the car took around a year and a half and it will make its competition debut at Solar Challenge Morocco 2021 from 23-30 October. The five-day race will take participants through 2,500 kilometres (1,550 miles) in the desert.
The concept of the car changed over 20 times during its construction, the team behind it said. “Our biggest challenge was optimising aerodynamics to lower the car’s wind resistance as much as possible. We managed to lower our car’s wind resistance by 30%, compared with an average vehicle,” Solaride’s engineering team lead, Mart Erik Kermes, said in a statement.
Initially, the team planned to compete in the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge in Australia, but the local COVID regulations meant that the competition was cancelled this year – and Solaride will try its luck in Morocco.
“In Morocco’s race, Solaride will compete in the cruiser class, where the main focus is on creating new, sustainable technological solutions when building these solar cars,” the student team said.
Solaride’s car fits four people and can drive up to 140 km/h (87 miles per hour), optimising energy from solar panels on its roof as well as from the battery. “The battery’s power, however, is the same as two kettles, and the unladen weight of the car is three times less than an average street car,” the team noted.
The car also has an optimal speed software that considers the road’s profile, weather conditions, energy from the solar panels – to keep the car’s energy consumption as low as possible.
Cover: Solaride’s solar-powered car at its launch event in Tartu. Photo by Solaride.