About Solar Cars
Ned was the first vehicle manufactured by the consortium, it was originally constructed in 1999 and has competed in several events and countless promotional events. With our bold design (that has been referred to by some as looking like a cockroach), we have attracted extensive media coverage.
The car was designed to be as competitive as possible while allowing students and teachers from Seaton High School, Fremont-Elizabeth City High and Annesley College, the University of South Australia and recently Regency TAFE to interact and build networks between the institutes. It was also used as a method to encourage young people to actively participate in developing renewable technology and the implications it has for our lifestyles.
The car weighs in at around 400 kilograms with two occupants ballasted to 80kg each and uses mainly carbon fibre throughout its construction. It also uses aluminium, kevlar and carbon-kevlar composite parts, this is what makes it possible to build such a lightweight vehicle.
The car uses a solar array consisting of BP Saturn solar cells which are quite common and relatively inexpensive compared to the top teams. The array produces around 1200 watts in full sun, which is about enough to boil a kettle or run a toaster.
The car normally uses a sealed lead acid battery pack consisting of 8 12volt deep cycle marine batteries, however, for SunRace 2002 it will be running it's sister cars lithium ion battery pack weighing in at much less than the lead acid pack, which should make the car weigh a considerably less.
The motor in Ned is manufactured by NGM in America and was developed by the Northern Territory University. It is over 90% efficient and is rated up to 5kW. It is also capable of producing large amounts of torque for climbing steep hills and for speed trials, however, it is not very common to see a solar car demonstrating this as it is not a very efficient driving strategy.
As far as suspension and steering goes this car is very similar to any road car, however, it is all machined from aluminium making it very light. The wheels are made from carbon fibre and use Michelin low rolling resistance solar car tyres.