TEAM | North West University Solar Team
CAR NAME | TBC
COUNTRY | South Africa
CLASS | Challenger
SA’s best team in 2016, the North West University solar car team are back with the goal to improve on the 3 524 km they clocked in the previous Sasol Solar Challenge.
Placing fourth to international teams in 2016, they aim to keep holding their own against the best solar car teams in the world.
To do this they are rebuilding Naledi, which competed in the 2017 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge. Naledi, which was named after a star, has a Formula One body shape and first-of-its-kind rotating solar panels.
These solar panels are able to follow the sun – eliminating the common problem caused by shade from the car’s own cockpit. The 15-strong team believes that this unusual design may become a feature on solar cars of the future.
While the university is an experienced solar challenge competitor, this year’s team – a third of which are women – is completely new save for their technical manager.
Historically a project for electrical engineering students, the 2018 build team mostly includes mechanical and chemical engineering students.
The 2018 car will be lighter and its centre of gravity closer to the front of the car. An entirely new suspension and steering unit is being designed to reduce vibrations.
Team NWU believes that their unique software – designed by master’s students to measure telemetry - will improve their strategy and give them a competitive edge.
NWU’s other accolades – which they will be aiming for again this year - include the longest daily distance by a South African team in their 2016 car, and awards for professionalism, safety and spirit.