- Created on Tuesday, 04 September 2012 11:11
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24 students, 18 months and 12 sponsors - that’s what it took – and some – to produce Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University’s (NMMU'a) first state-of-the-art solar car, Photon.
The sleek, five-metre model which was unveiled at NMMU on 3 September will fly the university flag high when it competes in the 3rd South African Solar Challenge around the country from 18 to 29 September.
“With this car we have achieved something remarkable,” said mechanical engineering lecturer Clive Hands, who as “race director’ has overseen the entire project.
Work on the vehicle, estimated to have cost about R2m, only seriously began in May 2011 once a partnership with Volkswagen South Africa, and other key sponsors had been secured.
But for the past five months the solar car team, consisting mainly of mechanical and electrical engineering students, has been working seven days a week. Many of the students are from overseas.
“We are immensely proud of what has been achieved,” Clive told sponsors, the media, and other guests at the launch on North Campus.
His words were echoed by VWSA’s Production Director Tom du Plessis, who also highlighted the benefits of the partnership especially in terms of renewable energy research.
“We are excited about the significance of this because renewable energy will play a huge role in the future of the automotive industry.”
The NMMU team will be competing in the Challenge sector of the race against top international competitors covering 5 500km starting in Pretoria.