Zurich Students Race in Australia in Self-Built Solar Car
Zurich students from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology ETH Zurich have embarked on a challenging journey in Darwin, northern Australia. They are participating in the World Solar Challenge, a 3,000-kilometer race across the Australian outback using a solar car they built themselves.
The team, known as alpha-Centauri, consists of 40 students, most of whom are between the ages of 21 and 23. Out of the 40, 25 students are in Australia to compete in the race. They plan to complete the race from Darwin to Adelaide in five days, with drivers changing every three hours to withstand the extreme conditions.
The students spent about a year developing their electric car, named “Aletsch”. Weighing 188 kilograms, the vehicle runs solely on solar energy and boasts a top speed of 120 km/h.
Prior to the race, team member Suno Diekmann expressed the challenges they face, including scorching temperatures of up to 50 degrees in the driver’s seat, rough roads, and dangerous crosswinds. Despite these obstacles, the team remains confident and aims to secure a place in the top 10, considering it their first time participating in the challenge.
In order to ensure the safety of all participants, the vehicles underwent rigorous safety tests before being admitted to the race. The team acknowledges that reaching the podium is a possibility but considers a top 10 finish more realistic. Their ultimate goal extends beyond winning the race; they also aim to inspire others through their innovative and sustainable approach.
The race presents an opportunity for the students to demonstrate their engineering skills and creativity. Their solar car showcases the potential of renewable energy in transportation and serves as a testament to their hard work and dedication.
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