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Green challenge: GMSA’s solar car battle

2014-12-10 12:10

GMSA’S SOLAR CHALLENGE: (From left), Bernard Schultz, Anas Abdelkader and Julian Strydom race their solar-powered cars under 150Watt lamps while Richard Cornwell holds the cord. Image: GMSA

PORT ELIZABETH, South Africa - General Motors South Africa's (GMSA) pitted engineers from its product engineering and product quality departments against each other to in a race to create the best solar-powered car.

Working only with limited materials supplied by their managers, 14 teams set out to build miniature cars powered by a 1.5V electric motor and 0.75W solar panel. They were allowed to apply mechanical modifications such as gearing, wheels and aerodynamics.


Competitors were allowed two days to plan though were allocated 30 minutes for final assembly and fine-tuning. Since the event was held indoors, 150W lamps were used to power the solar panels.

Vehicles were judged for aesthetics, creativity and speed.

Wendle Roberts, GM Africa's vice-president for product engineering, said: "Give our engineers a challenge and they accept it with open arms.

"During the two days of planning there was a flurry of activity and excitement among the teams from various departments. It also showed the teams' approach to developing and continuously improving engineering and technology on our locally produced products."

At the end it was a difficult decision but Team Chevy Stig won for its aesthetics while Team Solar Flare remained unbeaten in three rounds of racing.

GM YOUNGSTERS COMPETE: (From left), Wendle Roberts, GMSA vice president of product engineering views solar-powered vehicles created by the teams with engineers, Nathan Kops, Ronald Williams and Andrew Blaauw. Image: GMSA

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