Cambridge University develop eco-friendly car

  • Cambridge University solar-powered car, Helia

An eco-friendly car has been developed that can travel from London to Edinburgh by using the same amount of energy as a kettle.

The four-seater car, named Helia, was built by students at Cambridge University.

The car can travel 80km per hour using 2500w, with a range of 900km on a full charge. As a comparison, the Tesla Model 3 would need 8x the same amount of energy to manage the same output. Helia can also travel twice the range of a Tesla 3 on a battery just a quarter of the size.

"Currently there is a lot of news about the decline of the UK's automotive industry, but working with our partners has shown us that there is a very strong network of automotive companies," said programme director Xiaofan Zhang.

"Many of our partners are world leaders in automotive engineering, research and development, and high-value manufacturing but are not necessarily household names."

Currently there is a lot of news about the decline of the UK's automotive industry, but working with our partners has shown us that there is a very strong network of automotive companies

Helia’s ability to cover that distance at such an efficient rate is due to the use of chassis and body panels made from carbon fibre, which grant it a kerb weight of 550 kg. The car is powered through solar cells on its roof as well as conventional EV chargers.

The students tried out the car at the 3000km Bridgestone World Solar Challenge in Australia, which is the world’s biggest solar-powered car race.

Although the team were aiming for a podium finish, the car had to be withdrawn on the second day due to being at a high speed and the battery being drained.

"Whilst we have had some misfortune in the last couple of days during the competition the performance we we're seeing from Helia showed she was very competitive," the team said in a Facebook post.

"It's a fantastic achievement already given Helia is our first-ever cruiser-class car."

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