Students unveil improved solar car

The UKZN Solar Car team unveil the new UKZN Solar Car ‘Hulamin’ at the Howard College Campus on 15 July. PHOTO: UKZN

THE UKZN School of Engineering’s solar car team unveiled its new and improved solar car, Hulamin, which will race against the best in the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge in Australia.

Hulamin is the culmination of hard-work and dedication from some of UKZN’s best engineering students, and represents innovative and energy efficient engineering design, promoting green energy for the future. The solar car is a UKZN initiative, previously known as Hulamin – iKlwa and now rebranded ‘Hulamin’. The team named the car Hulamin in gratitude to the aluminium manufacturing company, Hulamin, which funded and supported the project with the intention to see it entered into the World Solar Challenge.

Over the past two years, the ambitious team have worked to enhance Hulamin with one goal in mind – to prepare it to qualify as an entrant in the 2015 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge. The car is set to make history as this is the first year the race will see an entrant from Africa.

The 2015 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge will be held in Australia from 18 to 25 October. The race will see teams travel a distance of 3000 kilometres from the city of Darwin in the Northern Territory to Adelaide in South Australia. The UKZN solar car team is one of 47 teams from 25 countries around the world. Hulamin will be entered in the Challenger class – four wheels (widely considered the primary racing class). The car will be shipped to Australia on 31 July.

Solar Car Project leaders, Miss Kirsty Veale and Dr Clint Bemont said the team is extremely excited about the race.

Dr Bemont said: “We are going to Australia to win! We hope to beat teams from some of the best Universities in the World like Stanford, Cambridge, MIT and even Delft! It’s the first time a team from Africa will be in the running.”

The University’s vice-chancellor, Dr Albert Van Jaarsveld delivered a special message of support: “Not only, is this a landmark event for the university but for the province and the country as a whole. I’m confident that the team will come back with a flag flying high, the University is 100 per cent behind them and wish them all the luck in the world.”

Hulamin Communications Manager, Ms Noma Kanyile said that the company’s view was that the team was extremely resourceful and innovative.

“These are the initiatives that Hulamin wants to be associated with.”

iKlwa won the national 2014 Sasol Solar Challenge and set distance records for the Olimpia Class. The new and improved UKZN solar car is an undergraduate engineering final year project. The team includes students and staff from Electronic and Computer Engineering, as well as Mechanical Engineering.

About Hulamin:

The car is five meters long, has an aerodynamically optimised design, weighs under 250 kg, and is nimble and agile. Hulamin has an asymmetrical design, with a highly aerodynamic profile that has a very small frontal area.

The theoretical drag of the car is very low, at 0,07; which enables the car to go faster and further.

The car is lightweight yet rigid and safe, with a fully carbon-composite monocoque chassis.

The car will have 6 m2 of super-high efficiency silicon solar panels to harvest energy from the sun. This energy can be stored in 21kg of lithium ion batteries. The car exhibits the cutting-edge of solar power and electric vehicle technology, is a reflection of the skill and enthusiasm of UKZN students and a demonstration of what brilliant and dedicated students can achieve.

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