VIDEO: Ardingly College students take on solar car competition in the Outback

A team of Ardingly College students are the first in Europe to compete in a gruelling race across the Outback in a solar-powered car they built themselves.

Five intrepid students are about to head to Australia to race their electric car 3,020 kilometers from Darwin to Adelaide in the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge. 

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, which will take place over six days, starts on October 18. It will see the drivers face bush fires, road trains, cattle grids, snakes, kangaroos and temperatures of over 45˚C.  

Ardingly’s team includes James Price, Luke Smith and Henry Hinder, who are all 18, Holly Hill, 17, and team manager Matt Price, 17.

Matt said: ”Its been a long process but its been really exciting and the excitement keeps building. Now to have the car physically here as a tangible representation of what people said was impossible to now have it here it really excites us.”

The car, which has taken 80 pupils three years to complete, was officially unveiled on Tuesday (September 22).

James Price, the media manager, said: “It has been an awesome experience, a steep learning curve for a lot of us. But it is incredible to see it finished and ready to race.

“It’s just amazing to see all of our hard work paying off, it’ll be awesome to see it on the roads and race in the event against all of our competitors.”

The Ardingly Solar project has received over £100,000 of financial and practical support from industry and sponsors.  Ardingly’s Head of Physics and project supervisor Dr Andrew Spiers said the task has helped pupils understand the importance of green technologies, acquire skills in business, design and manufacture and ‘empowered students to make a difference’.

Asked if he thought it was possible that 100% solar powered cars could soon be in regular use, James Price said: “With events like this emerging and the massive drive that companies and businesses are putting on solar technology we do think it is possible.”

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