Solar-powered races

Four CambridgeUniversitystudents will be taking the first-ever solar-powered journey from Land’s End to John O’Groats in the solar-electric vehicle Affinity.

Backed by a team of around 40 other students from the Cambridge University Eco Racing team (CUER), the drivers aim to bring attention to environmental issues and sustainable transportation technologies.

Affinity’s week-long ‘End to End’ trip scheduled to end on June 14. Achieving speeds of up to 60mph, the vehicle will make stops at schools and other venues along its route.

Team captain Martin McBrien said: ‘Designing and building the car has been an exhilarating experience for all involved, with the many ups and downs, late nights, and breakthrough moments making the whole project worthwhile. Sustainable transportation is no longer an issue for the future, but for today. With oil at $135 a barrel, proving that travelling on free energy from the sun is possible brings real hope.’

CUER Outreach Officer Jia-Yan Gu added: ‘We’re really excited about the opportunity to engage with school children and the public along the End to End route. We want to spread our enthusiasm about applying technology to help solve environmental issues.’

Following the completion of End to End, the CUER team are turning their attention to producing a second, more advanced solar vehicle to compete in the 2009 World Solar Challenge. The WSC will bring together around 30 teams from around the world to compete in a 1,850-mile race from Darwin to Adelaide.

Prior to that, Affinity will also race from Victoria Falls to Cape Town in January 2009 as part of Zero Rally Africa, a carbon neutral car rally crossing Zambia, Namibia and South Africa.