Solar-powered car breaks world record for longest trip on single charge

The solar-powered car did it in the nick of time, posting a verified time of 11 hours 52.08, with just eight minutes to spare.

by | Published on 8th Sep 2023

A new world record has been set by a solar-powered car for the longest trip on a single charge.

Sunswift 7 made the 1,000 km trip (621 miles) in less than 12 hours to set a new Guinness World Record.

And it did it in the nick of time, posting a verified time of 11 hours 52.08, with just eight minutes to spare.

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Designed and built by students at UNSW Sydney, the solar-powered car undertook the challenge at the Australian Automotive Reasearch Center (AARC).

Averaging 85 km/h (53 mph), the vehicle completed 240 laps of AARC’s Highway Circuit to break the record.

That’s the equivalent to more than the driving distance from Sydney to Melbourne.

The car only stopped to allow for a change of driver every few hours.

But, the record attempt was not without drama, with a battery management issue causing the car to come to a complete halt at one point.

It suffered a puncture, too, so had to make a pitstop for a tire change.

The rules of the event stated Sunswift 7 couldn’t be stationary for more than 15 minutes at a time.

It took the team 14 minutes and 52 seconds to fix the battery problem and get back onto the track.

Talk about making it by the skin of your teeth.

The Sunswift Racing team’s hard work was rewarded when they received the official honor, and Guiness World Record certificate, a few days after the challenge.

This was once timing information and car telemetry data has been analyzed and confirmed by a team of experts.

Sunswift 7 is the latest in a long line of successful solar-powered cars from UNSW since the first vehicle was produced in 1996.

The solar-powered car weighs just 500kg, which is about one quarter that of a Tesla.

It also boasts impressive efficiencies thanks to its aerodynamic design, the efficiency of the motors and drive train, and incredibly low rolling resistance.

The solar-powered car has a significant weight advantage over road-legal cars which require a host of features, such as airbags and air conditioning systems, that Sunswift 7 doesn’t include.



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Adam Gray is an experienced motoring journalist and content creator based in the United Kingdom. Using his media accreditation with motor manufacturers’ press offices, Adam test drives the latest cars and attends new vehicle press launches, producing written reviews and news pieces for Before joining the Supercar Blondie team, Adam was Motoring Editor for Portfolio North magazine, North East Motoring Editor at Reach plc, and provided motoring content on a freelance basis to several lifestyle and business publications in the North of England. When he’s not behind the wheel of the latest car, Adam can be found at his local rink playing ice hockey or supporting his beloved Middlesbrough FC.

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