Solar racing enthusiasts have launched a public bid for funding to help them develop the world’s fastest solar-powered family car in time for a global competition in Australia later this year.
The Solar Team Great Britain are hoping to raise between £20,000 and £26,000 via public backing on Kickstarter to fund the development of the car, which as a four-seater will compete in the ‘Cruiser Class’ category at the 3,022 km Bridgestone World Solar Challenge race across Australia in October.
While the £26,000 figure only represents around four to five per cent of the vehicle’s total development costs – the rest of the car’s £300,000-£500,000 price tag is being funded by private and business sponsors – Solar Team GB founder Heape said part of the aim is to raise awareness of the race and solar’s potential in production cars.
“While only forming a small part of the total [funding] we need, we felt this could help highlight the work being done and get the public backing and awareness for solar cars… and joins initiatives like working with schools,” he said in a statement.
“Figures suggest that were cars to add panels to the roof of their electric ranges almost a fifth of the average annual mileage could be added to the range. And that’s here in the UK, and before design modifications / more advanced technologies come along.”
The team aims to complete a working prototype of the egg-shaped vehicle by April, before shipping the finished racing vehicle to Australia in July.
This year marks the 30th anniversary of the World Solar Challenge. In the Cruiser Class race category, vehicles must be able to balance speed with energy efficiency and minimal recharging times. In 2013 the winning four-seater travelled the route with an external energy consumption of 64KWh – in comparison a modern family car would consume 5,000KWh over the same distance.