British Solar Racer Follows the Sun for Maximum Power (w/ video)

Cambridge Resolution Solar Car

A team from Cambridge University thinks they have a fairly good shot at winning Australia’s 3000 km solar challenge this year, thanks to their new “Resolution” solar racer. What makes the Resolution special – even in solar racer circles! – is an array moving solar panels that tracks the path of the sun as the car drives around. This moveable array is predicted to provide the car with up to 20% more power than a “traditionally mounted” solar array.

Resolution isn’t named for its “high-resolution” solar cells, however, it’s named after the storied HMS Resolution, which was one of England’s early exploration ships. The team explains their naming choice as follows …

Resolution is named after the HMS Resolution, in which Captain Cook made his second voyage of exploration to the South Pacific to search for the fabled Terra Australis. This ship was the successor to HMS Endeavour, which makes the name particularly appropriate for us. It performed some remarkable feats, becoming the first ship in the world to cross the Antarctic Circle, exactly 240 years ago (in 1773) setting a record for the furthest southern latitude ever explored. Resolution is a name that reflects our spirit of adventure, exploration and determination.

… which, I’ll grant you, isn’t particularly informative about the solar racer itself, but it’s neat history.

The Cambridge team released a video, below, which talks about a change in the World Solar Challenge rules to make competitors’ cars more “realistic”. The rules were changed in order to spur innovations that might have some real-world applications, like the 4-passenger solar Stella (which, it should be noted, will also be competing at the WSC this year). I’m not sure what the kids are driving at Cambridge, these days, but I’m willing to be we’ll see something like the Stella on the road before we see one of these.

Watch the Resolution team’s video, though, and let us know which one you think we’ll see on the roads first in the comments, below. Enjoy!


Source: University of Cambridge, via Inhabitat.

Jo Borrás

I've been in the auto industry 1997, and write for a number of blogs in the IM network. You can also find me on Twitter, at my Volvo fansite, out on two wheels, or chasing my kids around Oak Park, IL.