Over the past few years, the JU solar team has been building a solar car fully powered by solar energy. This project has been in preparation for the solar race in Australia that took place in October 2023.
The contest is based on sustainability and solar-powered energy transport. The pioneers that started the contest were Hans Tholstup and Larry Perkins who in 1982 had a vision of driving a solar-powered vehicle from west to east Australia. Since 1987 when the first competition took place many more have taken place and it continues to show the technical developments and is a place to push the boundaries of sustainable solar energy.
Jönköping University competed with their first car Magic in 2013 and unfortunately did not place due to the car being blown off the road. In 2015 however, the car Solbritt competed and the JU team placed in 15th place out of 30 other participants. This year the JU solar team had one of the best placings compared to previous years, coming in at 7th place.
EDIT spoke to Josefine who is part of this year’s JU solar team and asked her about the experience in Australia. She told us about the excitement they were all feeling in preparation for the competition as well as the weather being really warm — In Australia, the weather was around 40 degrees Celsius! They started the journey in Darwin where they crossed the starting line and drove the car all the way through Australia to the finishing line in Adelaide. “We drove for about 5 days […] 3022 km,” she told EDIT. One of the challenges that the JU team experienced was the issue with many flat tires, “We experienced around 5 to 6 flat tires, one of them happened around 10 km before the finishing line. That one was a bit stressful.” The team however made it in the end, and eventually crossed the finishing line and came in 7th place making it the best placing ever for a Swedish team participating in the race.
One of the highlights for Josefine was being part of a team and the bond they created “We’re just like a big family and seeing everything come together is an amazing experience.” This trip will forever stay with the team. And the feeling of seeing the solar car cross the finish line? It was really special! Josefine’s advice for future teams from a marketing standpoint would be to document everything and help the engineers when you can, such as raising a flag when a tire goes flat to signal that the car isn’t moving.
EDIT congratulates the JU solar team on their placing at the Solar competition and wishes the upcoming team the best of luck for the competition that will take place in 2025!
Writer: Sandra Hanna-Mikha
Photos Provided by JU Solar Team.