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UKZN Solar Car ‘Hulamin’ shines!

UKZN’s Solar Car team, Hulamin, at the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge finish line in Adelaide, Australia.
  •  crosses the finish line at the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge in Australia.

UKZN Solar Car, Hulamin, has crossed the finish line at the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge in Australia! The team has provisionally been placed in 12th position among 42 world teams, 29 of which are racing in the ‘Challenger’ class.  The official race results will be announced once the remaining competitors cross the finish line by race cut-off time on Sunday, 25 October.

The exhausted yet ecstatic UKZN Solar Car team crossed the finish line at 12.05pm Adelaide time on Friday 23 October 2015.  The team travelled 3022 kilometres from the city of Darwin in the Northern Territory to Adelaide in South Australia, completing the race in 47 hours, 53 minutes and 59 seconds of driving time, over five and a half days.  First place went to Nuon Solar Team and second place to Solar Team Twente, both from the Netherlands.  Team Tokai Challenger from Japan came in third.

Patron of the UKZN Solar Car Project, Vice-Chancellor, Dr Albert van Jaarsveld was delighted when he heard the news, “My hearty congratulations to the whole team. We are all very proud of you for flying the UKZN flag high down under. Viva Hulamin Viva!” he said.

“It was a tough race that required a lot of hard work,” said Co-Team Leader Dr Clinton Bemont. “We were on the go all the time and never had a chance to relax.  Now I’m looking forward to a good shower, time to relax and a beer!”

“The team is exhausted but happy to have finished two days before the cut off,” said Academic Leader for Mechanical Engineering, Professor Glen Bright, who travelled from South Africa to meet the UKZN team at the finish line. “I am very proud of their achievements. While they had to deal with resource constraints, they still overcame many challenges along the route, to emerge as worthy UKZN and South African contestants,” he said.

“We could not have done this without the help we got from all our supporters,” said Ms Kirsty Veale, the team’s other Co-Team Leader. “Thank you!”

The Solar Car is a UKZN initiative, previously known as Hulamin - iKlwa and now rebranded ‘Hulamin’. The team named the car ‘Hulamin’ in gratitude to the aluminium manufacturing company, HULAMIN, who funded and supported the project with the intention to see it entered into the World Solar Challenge.

Hulamin was developed by a group of Engineering students and lecturers from UKZN in Durban, South Africa. The car was built to participate in the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge, currently taking place in Australia from 18 – 25 October 2015. 

This year, the event saw its first ever entrants from the African continent.

The UKZN Solar Car team was one of 47 teams from 25 countries around the world. Hulamin was entered in the Challenger class - 4 wheels (widely considered the primary racing class).

About Hulamin:

The car is five meters long, has an aerodynamically optimised design, weighs under 250 kg, and is nimble and agile. Hulamin has an asymmetrical design, with a highly aerodynamic profile that has a very small frontal area.  The theoretical drag of the car is very low, at 0,07; which enables the car to go faster and further.

The car is lightweight yet rigid and safe, with a fully carbon-composite monocoque chassis. The car has 6 m2 of super-high efficiency silicon solar panels to harness energy from the sun. This energy can be stored in 21kg of lithium ion batteries.

About UKZN

UKZN is a research driven university, rated No.1 in South Africa in terms of its research output. As such, one of the primary motivating factors for the development of the Hulamin Solar Car has been to push the boundaries of research into renewable energy and its capabilities. The University sees what has been achieved through the development of the solar car, as a great reflection of what South Africa as a country and UKZN as a premier university of African Scholarship has to offer and contribute to world research in sustainable energy technology.

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