Bridgestone have announced that World Solar Challenge will make its return in 2023 following the cancellation of the 2021 event due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The vehicle code named ASCEND standing for Acciona Solar Car ENgineered by Deakin is first declared Victorian contender for the 2023 race, first Australian solar challenge in four years.
Faced with the cancellation of the 2021 event construction of the vehicle has required as much endurance as the race itself with students unable to work on the car due to extensive lockdowns during the pandemic.
The disruption over the last two years has required students to think creatively and use innovative technologies, distributed design and engineering to solve the challenge of building a complex and multi-disciplinary vehicle. Students built home workshops and makeshift research and testing labs to experiment, design and validate and collaborate with their peers over video calls.
The ASCEND vehicle has been designed in the vein of the classic grand tourer with a modern twist. Deakin University’s engineering faculty aimed to design a car that handles and performs like a grand tourer that is as comfortable in the outback as it would be on a city block.
The project shows the potential for solar powered cars to one day be part of Australia’s transportation mix.
Deakin University will enter the vehicle in the ‘Cruiser’ division. The 3,000km race will be split into three 1,000km intervals.
Winners will be judged based on several factors including payload, energy consumption and a subjective element of ‘practicality’. Judges will also be looking for designs that standout and give vehicles a desirable point of difference.
The 2023 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge will commence in October 2023.