Ardingly College students complete 3,000km solar challenge

Ardingly College students James Price (18), Luke Smith (18) and Henry Hinder (18), all from Sussex have become the first ever to complete the epic World Solar Challenge, a 3,000 km race across Australia's so-called Red Centre in a vehicle powered by the heat from the sun - picture submitted
Ardingly College students James Price (18), Luke Smith (18) and Henry Hinder (18), all from Sussex have become the first ever to complete the epic World Solar Challenge, a 3,000 km race across Australia's so-called Red Centre in a vehicle powered by the heat from the sun - picture submitted

A team of students from Ardingly College have become the first ever school to complete the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge after finishing last Friday.

The challenge, a 3,000km solar powered race across the centre of Australia was done in a vehicle powered by the heat from the sun that the students spent three years making.

Launch of the Ardingly College Solar Car. Pic Steve Robards SR1522416 SUS-150922-151548001

Launch of the Ardingly College Solar Car. Pic Steve Robards SR1522416 SUS-150922-151548001

The race took started on the 18th and saw the team face the hot Australian conditions in their efforts to finish.

James Price, Media Manager of the team, said: “We’ve made it! It’s been a once-in-a-lifetime experience for all involved.”

Upon arriving in Australia the team had to face scrutineering where the car was tested on 366 regulations, with the risk of exclusion had the car failed.

The last three years has seen their team balance GCSE, A Levels and the International Baccalaureate whilst working round-the-clock to build what has been described as “a phenomenal feat of engineering” – the creation of their own Cruiser class Solar Electric Vehicle (EV).

The drivers that travelled to Australia were Holly Hill (17), from Houston, Texas; James Price (18), Luke Smith (18) and Henry Hinder (18), all from Sussex.  Matt Price (17), from Eastbourne, completed the support team. 

Ardingly’s Head of Science and project supervisor Dr Andrew Spiers says the three year task transported industry into the classroom, helped pupils recognise the imperatives of sustainable transport, understand the importance of green technologies, learn above and beyond the curriculum, acquire new skills in business, design and manufacture and, above all, “it has empowered students to make a difference.”

The Ardingly Solar project received over £100,000 worth of financial and practical support from industry and sponsors. These include DHL, McLaren, GTR, Time24, Elekta, NTCadcam and Lincoln Binns, whose CEO John Binns has been the team’s ‘Mentor in Industry’.

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