The Cambridge University Solar Car Team (CUER) has completed 2011 Veolia World Solar Challenge. The car, named “Endeavour Mk II”, successfully battled bush fires and thunderstorms to complete the gruelling 3,000 km race across the Australian Outback, from Darwin to Adelaide.
The CUER team was entering the race only for the second time in its short history and the car and team outperformed the other British entrant (Durham University) and performed at a similar level to some of the most recognised teams in the world.
The race this year suffered from poor weather conditions that meant 30 out of 37 entrants in the field (CUER included) were unable to travel the entire race distance under solar power alone. Endeavour II was only able to complete 1487km under solar power in the strict 6-day time limit.
The team was able to demonstrate levels of technical reliability and organisational competence that were significantly better than both their predecessors in 2009 and many of their fellow competitors. Furthermore, the professionalism of CUER was even recognised by the event organisers who, at the closing ceremony, presented them with the award for the team that has displayed the highest standard of safe and consistent racing.
CUER is a team composed entirely of students from the University of Cambridge who, in their spare time, design and build solar and electric powered racing vehicles. Over the past 18 months, the team estimates that around 17,000 man-hours have been poured in to the car, which is the culmination of a number of Masters projects in Cambridge University Engineering Department.
Work has already begun on development of a much-improved car to enter the World Solar Challenge in 2013 and the team are looking to raise money to support its efforts over the next two years.