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A solar-powered car originally designed and built at Glyndŵr University has set the South African record for most kilometres covered in a solar day as it came third overall in the FIA Olympic class at the Sasol Solar Challenge.

The result was achieved despite a number of setbacks for the team behind the car, which was originally designed and built with the involvement of Glyndŵr University engineering students.

The car, which has recently been adapted, competes jointly with South Africa’s Tshwane University of Technology (TUT).
Team founder Dr Graham Sparey-Taylor said: “It is excellent to finish third in our class, and even better to break the South African record. All this is in the context of a number of problems, including difficulties with shipping which meant the car was held in customs for seventeen days.”

The overall placing for the team was judged on the distance travelled, team philosophy and culture as well as openness to sharing knowledge and technology.

Graham said “The chassis for the car was built at Glyndŵr University with the students, through student projects. The success is a product of their work and of sharing knowledge with TUT in Pretoria.”

The car itself not only has a fair number of Welsh flags on it but also the Glyndwr logo.

In the 2010 event a team had to be cautioned as they were not keeping to the 120km/h speed limit for South African roads – being zapped by police radar doing 174km/h! Which in UK terms is 108mph – putting to rest the idea that solar powered cars are slow!

You can view the route map the car took by clicking here to see a PDF, or visit the main solarchallenge.org.za site.