2015 Solar Drive ready for the desert

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 SOLAR ROAD TRIP: The University of Johannesburg will take it's solar-powered Ilanga II up north to neighbouring countries for an educational trip from June 18. Image: Supplied ~
JOHANNESBURG, Gauteng - The start on June 18 of The 2015 African Solar Drive will launch a sub-Saharan adventure for Ilanga II, the University of Johannesburg (UJ) Energy Movement’s solar-powered electric car, across borders into Namibia and Botswana.

Aside from the adventure of the drive, an important focus of the drive is to raise awareness and promote green technology. By showcasing Ilanga II and hosting public lectures, the UJ Energy Movement aims to educate schools, researchers and people interested in a career in science and engineering, specifically relating to alternative energy.

The lectures will be in Kimberley, Upington, Windhoek and Gaborone.

EDUCATIONAL ROADSHOW

During the 4160km trip, engineering students will collect and analyze data to optimise the performance of the vehicle.  Mechanical engineering science lecturer and the UJ Energy Movement Programme manager, Nickey Janse van Rensburg says: "The programme was established in 2010 to promote skills development, energy conservation and sustainability through technology innovation. We are really excited to be taking Ilanga II on its longest trip yet and introducing the programme to our neighbours across Africa.”

Spectators can see Ilanga II at pit stops; the solar-powered electric car is one of the most advanced such vehicles produced by UJ students and industry partners to date.

Team and technology manger of the programme, Warren Hunter, explained that there were a lot of logistical arrangements: "A team of engineers and academics has been involved in the technical planning of this 12-day trip to make sure operations run as smoothly as possible."

The 2015 African Solar Drive route and lecture dates are as follows:

Tuesday, 09 June: Johannesburg (Public Lecture and launch of African Solar Drive)
Thursday, 18 June: UJ Solar Lab  - Kimberley (Public Lecture)
Friday, 19 June: Kimberley – Upington (Public Lecture)
Saturday, 20 June: (Upington) – Hakskeen Pan – Rietfontein Border Control – KeetmansHoop
Sunday, 21 June: Keetmanshoop – Mariental – Rehoboth
Monday, 22 June: Rehoboth – Windhoek (Public Lecture)
Tuesday, 23 June: Windhoek– Swakopmund – Walvis Bay
Wednesday, 24 June: Walvis Bay – Swakopmund
Thursday, 25 June: Swakopmund – Windhoek – Buitepos
Friday, 26 June: Buitepos – Kang
Saturday, 27 June: Kang – Sekoma – Kanye – Gabarone
Sunday, 28 June: Gaborone Day (Public Lecture)
Monday, 29 June: Gaborone – UJ Solar Lab

Follow the UJ Solar Car on the Sasol Solar challenge website.

WIN: The 2015 African Solar Drive Twitter competition If you spot the Solar Car along the route don’t hesitate to upload a photo on Twitter by using @UJSolarCar and #‎AfricanSolarDrive or the UJ Solar Car Facebook page. Who knows, you might be the lucky winner of a Google Tablet.

The winner of the prize will be drawn randomly on June 30 and notified via Twitter or Facebook.