Posted: 18 September 2019

Four years of engineering brainpower and hundreds of hours spent building a practical solar car will be put to the test when the Flinders Automotive Solar Team (FAST) sets out on a 3,000 kilometre journey across the outback in the 2019 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge.

FAST this week unveiled Investigator Mark III at Tonsley– designed and built by a crew of student and staff volunteers to compete in the Cruiser Class, which encourages teams to come up with practical electric vehicles judged on a range of measures, including whether they meet current road regulations and seat at least two people.

Director Stuart Wildy says the FAST car was designed to resemble what people could one day be driving on Australian roads but is modified to travel up to 1,200 kms without having to recharge with an increased battery size and substantial engineering improvements.

“We switched from dual hub motors to a more efficient single inboard motor in 2019, with the aim of reaching speeds up to 100km/h on outback roads without having to stop and recharge. It has comfortable seating, an actual windscreen, conventional doors and the ability to charge at a standard AC charging station,” says Dr Wildy.

“We aimed to build a practical car for this year’s Cruiser Class having learnt some tough lessons in our first attempt in 2017 which didn’t go to plan and are looking forward to the challenge.”

FAST Investigator Mark III

  • Top Speed: Over 100km/h
  • Range: 1,200km target
  • Mass: Approx. 550kg
  • Solar Capacity: 900W
  • Solar Cell Count: 2,880

The ‘new kids on the block’ in solar racing will go up against tertiary institutions, industry participants and schools from 24 countries in a five day race which runs from Adelaide to Darwin in October 2019.

The FAST team also worked with the College of Science and Engineering to expand placement opportunities for students as part of their engineering training.

The solar car offers the opportunity to investigate solar technology through a real, team based project where students can test their theories, ideas and innovations.

53 teams from 24 countries have entered the The 2019 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge which takes place from Darwin to Adelaide, South Australia from 13-20 October.

FAST is travelling to Coober Pedy for the 5 day testing stage on 27 September, 2019.