Wits solar challenge team to showcase their car on campus

wits_logoThe Wits University students who will be racing a car powered solely by the sun from Pretoria to Cape Town in the world’s longest race of its kind, the Sasol Solar Challenge, are offering media a chance to watch them test drive the car around the Wits campus on Tuesday, 23 September 2014.

The students and Team Manager, Kamil Midor, a Visiting Lecturer in the Wits School of Mechanical, Industrial and Aeronautical Engineering, will be on hand to demonstrate the technology and answer questions about the car.

Date: Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Time: 10:00

Venue: Between the North West Engineering Building and the South West Engineering Building, Braamfontein Campus East, Wits University

Map: http://www.wits.ac.za/maps/606/east_campus.html

Please RSVP to Kanina Foss at 011 717 1024/082 052 0939 or [email protected].

The Sasol Solar Challenge kicks off on 27 September 2014 and will take eight days to complete. The distance that the cars will cover varies between 2 000km and 6 000km.

This is the fourth time that the biennial Sasol Solar Challenge is taking place in South Africa. Wits competed in the race for the first time in 2012 and finished fourth. This year the team will be driving a brand new vehicle – the Wits Solar Car v2.0 – which has been built largely by the School of Mechanical, Industrial and Aeronautical Engineering.

They will be competing against other students, industry and government partners, and private individuals from across the world, including South Africa, the Netherlands, Turkey and Cyprus. The heat is on!

Fun facts about the new Wits Solar Car:

  • The solar car generates 1 200W from the sun, and will be travelling about 500km per day using half the energy of an average hairdryer.
  • As much as 22% of the sunlight is converted into electricity.
  • It will be able to reach speeds of around 120km/h.
  • The entire car weighs around 175kg. That’s the weight of two grown men.
  • The total weight of the race vehicle and driver on the road is 280kg.
  • Materials used in construction include aluminium, honeycomb and fibre composites, the same as those used in modern jet liners and Formula 1 cars.
  • The batteries used in the Wits Solar Car v2.0 are based on the LiFePO4 chemistry and can only be recharged by the car’s on-board solar panels during the race.
  • The solar car is 1.8m wide, 4.5m long and 1.4m high, and complies with the latest Olympia Class solar vehicle regulations as specified by Formula One’s governing body, FIA.


Official race website: http://www.solarchallenge.org.za/

Official website of the Wits team: http://www.wits.ac.za/witssolarcar/

Mini-documentary on the Wits team: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jftz1bYS6_I#t=253


Issued by:


Senior Communications Officer

Advancement and Partnerships Division

University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg

Tel: +27 11 717 1024

Cell: +27 82 052 0939

Email: [email protected]

Web: www.wits.ac.za