Deakin Engineering and ACCIONA Energía have partnered to enter a vehicle in the 2023 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge
Deakin University and ACCIONA Energía have partnered to enter the ASCEND, a solar-powered vehicle, in the 2023 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge – a 3000 km race from Darwin to Adelaide.
Deakin’s ASCEND Solar Car Team is proud to be the first Victorian team to complete in more than decade. ASCEND, the student designed and built vehicle will be entered in the ‘Cruiser Class’ division when the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge kicks off on 22 October.
Deakin students will join the brightest young people from all over the world when they push the boundaries of technology on this epic journey – travelling the harsh conditions of the Australian outback in ASCEND – the Deakin designed and built solar-powered vehicle.
Follow the students journey on the ASCEND BWSC Journey Blog.
Deakin and ACCIONA Energía are pushing the limits of innovation on the ASCEND Solar Car Project
For Deakin University entering the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge is platform to showcase strengths in additive manufacturing, engineering design and product development, and to provide exceptional learning experiences.
Deakin’s vision is to achieve carbon neutrality by 2025. The renewable energy microgrid at Waurn Ponds is Australia’s largest university solar farm, it currently supplies more than 50% of the campus’s power.
For ACCIONA Energía, building a competitive solar powered vehicle is an opportunity to substantiate the power of renewable energy in innovative projects. With commercial operations in 20 countries, ACCIONA Energía is providing reliable and efficient integrated energy solutions for a better planet.
The Bridgestone World Solar Challenge is a road race featuring solar power cars from entrants all over the world. The challenge is open to students from universities and high schools, allowing upcoming engineering minds to work in a team to push the boundaries of technology, and make advancements in renewal energy. The race spans 3,000km from Darwin to Adelaide across the harsh conditions of central Australia pushing the cars to their limits.
Deakin students have collaborated with academics, researcher and industry experts to design and build a 'Cruiser Class' solar powered car for the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge
Briefed to create an aerodynamic vehicle capable of traversing central Australia’s rugged terrain that looks and feels as comfortable in the outback as it would on the city street.
Students used additive manufacturing, more commonly known as 3D printing to design and build the vehicle body and to construct complex automotive parts not easily produced through composite methodologies.
Entered in the ‘Cruiser Class’ division of the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge the end goal was to deliver a practical, energy efficient, marketable solar electric car that will be judged on criteria including payload, energy consumption and the subjective element of ‘practicality’.
The ASCEND solar vehicle’s streamlined profile and high impact-resistant panels optimise efficiency and support solar cell placement. The body was printed in nylon powder using Multi-Jet Fusion technology which provides strong performance and production rates much faster than traditional 3D printing technologies.
The chassis is engineered to comply with BWSC safety regulations. The chassis uses thin-walled Chromoly tubing and weighs less than 85 kg. Using generative designed 3D-printed titanium front uprights and CNC-milled aluminium suspension arms all combine to make ASCEND half the weight of a regular car.
Innovative techniques have been used to develop composites of basalt fibre and eco bio-resins that reinforce the car body as well as keep it lightweight. Basalt fibre is made from volcanic rock, melted, and stitched or woven into fabrics. Deakin researchers are applying these materials to a real-world environment to see how they perform.
Deakin and ACCIONA Energía are elevating the student experience by providing a hands-on, real world challenge
Since the project began in 2019, the ASCEND Solar Car Project has engaged more than 1000 students representing disciplines ranging from mechanical, electrical and aerodynamics engineering to information technology, business, marketing and communication. Participation in this real world project gives students hands-on experience and an embedded knowledge of how industry works.