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ACCIONA Energía, in partnership with Australia’s Deakin University, will participate in the next edition of the World Solar Challenge, a 3,000 kilometers race across the Australian desert for vehicles powered exclusively from solar energy. The vehicles are designed by multidisciplinary teams of university students from around the world and sponsored by leading companies seeking to promote renewable energies.
ACCIONA Energía is collaborating with the Deakin University in Victoria, Australia, where students are faced with the challenge of designing a solar vehicle prototype. To date, nearly 1,000 students from different faculties have been involved in the project. They had to improvise home workshops and home laboratories in order to make progress on their work during the months of strict mobility restrictions derived from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The resulting vehicle was codenamed ASCEND, standing for ACCIONA Solar Car ENgineered by Deakin. The car was designed in the vein of the classic grand tourer with a modern twist. The aim of the students that designed it was to create a car that handles and performs like a grand tourer, and that combines comfortability and endurance for a race in the outback.
The World Solar Challenge is a prestigious biannual scientific-sporting event in which solar vehicles compete in a race across the Australian desert, driving from Darwin to Adelaide. The sixteenth edition, to be held from 20-27 October 2023, will be the first in four years after the 2021 race was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The competition comprises three categories: the Challenger Class, where vehicles compete to be the fastest; the Cruiser Class, where the energy efficiency and functionality of the vehicles are evaluated; and the Adventure Class, a non-competitive category that includes all solar vehicles that do not fall into the previous categories.
The vehicle developed by ACCIONA Energía and Deakin University will enter in the Cruiser Class, and it will run the 3,021 kilometers race in three intervals of about 1,000 kilometers each. Winners will be selected based on several factors, including payload, energy consumption, energy efficiency, and practicality.