Estonian student organisation prepares for an international solar race

An Estonian student organisation is working to compete in an international solar race in 2021 in Australia with a solar-powered car.

Solaride is a student organisation that exemplifies the changing climates of Estonia. Its most long-term goal is to produce an affordable and reliable solar-powered car for mass production, and it uses modern technology, teamwork and clean energy.

The organisation is now planning to build a solar-powered car that would transport four people over 3,000 kilometres (1,864 miles) across the Australian Outback. According to the organisers, students from six universities in the country, spanning multiple departments, began their tough task in the most Estonian way possible: remotely. This wasn’t only because they were located throughout the country, but the novel coronavirus pandemic and the ensuing lockdown played a large part in this as well. 

“The global emergency hasn’t had much of an effect on progress, however, as the goal of finishing the car by next April and having it fully tested and ready to race by October is right on track,” the organisers said.

The Solaride team. Photo by Solaride.

Asking the public for help with financing

Among the mentors helping the students in the project are Tiit Liivik of Starship Technologies, a delivery robot producer, and Priit Salumaa of Mooncascade, a software development company.

“The goal for next year is to finish the World Solar Challenge in Australia, but by 2023 we’re aiming for the top spot on the podium,” Salumaa said. “There’s a joint project with Auve Tech to make solar roofs for their self-driving buses, and there are potential plans to work with various Estonian cities to help them reach their sustainability goals for mobility.”

This is what the Solaride solar-powered car is supposed to look like when it’s finished. Photo by Solaride.

While Solaride receives support and technical knowhow from several other companies and experts as well, the non-profit is also asking the public for help on its Hooandja crowd-funding page. According to the organisation, the top donor even has the chance of owning the solar-powered car when the race is over.

Cover: This is what the Solaride solar-powered car is supposed to look like when it’s finished. Photo by Solaride.

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