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North West University ready for SA Solar Car challenge

2017-10-05 09:59

Image: Supplied

Cape Town - The North West University will send a team to have its day in the sun at the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge, which takes place from 8 to 15 October in Australia.

The gruelling journey starts in Darwin and follows the Stuart Highway to Port Augusta followed by Highway 1 to Adelaide about 3000km away.

NWU Solar has already set the bar high with its solar car challenge achievements. It was co-winner of its very first outing at the 2012 Sasol Solar Challenge, an honour it shared with Tokai University, which is consistently ranked as one of the top three teams in the world.

The team has gone on to break various records. In 2015, at the previous biennial Bridgestone World Challenge, NWU Solar debuted to become the first team from Africa to cross the finish line. It took 11th place in an overall field of 29, beating some world-renowned universities in the process including MIT and Cambridge. It holds the record for the furthest distance travelled by a South African team in a single day (611.9km), as well as the furthest distance completed by a South African team (3524.9km).

Naledi

Image: NWU

The faculty recently launched Naledi, the 2017 iteration of the solar car that will be competing in Bridgestone World Solar Challenge. Naledi, meaning ‘star', boasts a brand new design with the body based on the world-class JS3 Jonker Sailplane that also has its roots at the NWU Faculty of Engineering. The team from NWU will also be using solar tracking technology to soak up sun rays, keeping its panels at an optimal angle to the sun at all times. The body shape with the use of solar tracking makes Naledi one of the most unique vehicles in the competition.

Its sponsorship of the NWU Solar car challenge team is just one of the ways the Growthpoint invests in sustainability and innovation at university level in South Africa. Growthpoint also founded the Greenovate Awards programme with the Green Building Council South Africa (GBCSA), which sets university students of the built environment and engineering on a quest to find more sustainable ways of living. 

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