Bridgestone is supplying tires to the 32 teams participating in the 2019 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge (BWSC), for which the company is the naming rights sponsors. Held in Australia once every two years, Cambridge University will be flying the flag for the UK as its team bids for a place on the podium.
Twenty undergraduates from the university’s Eco Racing (CUER) have completed work on a four-seat solar powered electric car, collaborating with top automotive companies and experts from the UK to develop and manufacture their new vehicle, badged Helia.
Xiaofan Zhang, program director, commented, “CUER was founded in 2008 and built ‘affinity’, a very large single-seat road-legal solar car that drove from Land’s End to John O’Groats. Now, just 10 years later, it’s incredible to see how electric vehicle technology has developed so far in such a short space of time. These innovations have allowed us to build a four-seat car that is much faster, more efficient and practical.”
CUER will compete in the Cruiser Class, the race category for multiple occupancy vehicles. The toughest part of the competition this year includes a 1,200km stretch, which the team will need to complete in just two days without recharging from the grid, all while carrying four people on board.
The 2019 event will begin on October 13, and racers will compete on a course spanning 3,000km from Darwin on the northern edge of Australia to Adelaide on the southern edge, over a period of approximately five days.
The Ecopia tires have been developed specifically for the solar cars and feature Bridgestone’s Ologic fuel-efficient tire technology.