The Australian National University (ANU) has unveiled its entrant for the 2017 solar car race from Darwin to Adelaide.
ANU’s ‘Super Charge’ is the scrappy underdog in the World Solar Challenge, racing against cars injected with cash from some of the world’s largest universities and tech companies.
For 3,000 kilometres of mostly desert, the car will be pushed to its limits.
Project lead Emily Rose Rees said the team was just hoping Super Charge would finish.
“It’s pretty tough conditions out in the outback,” she said.
“Our aim is not to win, but cross the finish line.”
The car was built by a team of 30 students over two years, which included designing the vehicle and finding sponsors.
Its solar panels charge a lithium ion battery, which powers a locally-developed electric motor.
“So local technology that’s now the most efficient motor in the world,” Ms Rees said.
But while solar cars typically use carbon fibre to stay light, the Super Charge’s frame is made of aluminium – to survive the outback.
And surviving the outback is tough, about one-third of the competing cars do not finish the punishing track.
In fact, the Super Charge has four drivers, to help cope with the heat inside the car.
“To cross the finish line, that means you’re in the top 10 of teams,” race lead Arlene Mendoza said.
“Even to cross the start line and potentially finish would be such a large achievement for the team.”
The race begins on October 8 in Darwin.