New UKZN Solar Car to Compete in World Challenge

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UKZN’s solar car team celebrate the unveilling
of their new vehicle.

Hulamin, the new UKZN solar powered car which will compete in the 2015 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge in Australia in October, was unveiled at a launch organised on the Howard College campus by the School of Engineering.

Hulamin, which represents innovative and energy efficient engineering design and the promotion of green energy for the future, is the culmination of months of hard-work and dedication from some of UKZN’s best engineering students. 

Over the past two years, the team has worked to enhance Hulamin with one goal in mind – to prepare it to qualify as an entrant in the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge 2015.

Now Hulamin is ready to make history as one of the first ever African entries to be accepted for the race which has attracted 47 teams from 25 countries

The race, from 18 – 25 October, involves the cars travelling 3 000km from Darwin to Adelaide.

Hulamin, which leaves for Australia by sea on July 31, is entered in the four-wheeler Challenger class, widely considered to be the primary racing category.

Stakeholders, members of the media, staff and students were at the launch where project leaders, Miss Kirsty Veale and Dr Clinton Bemont, said the team was extremely excited about the race. ‘We are going to Australia to win! We hope to beat teams from some of the best universities in the world including Stanford, Cambridge, MIT and even Delft,’ said Bemont.

UKZN’s Vice-Chancellor, Dr Albert Van Jaarsveld, delivered a special message of support. ‘Not only, is this a landmark event for the University but for the province and the country as a whole. I’m confident that you will come back with our flag flying high! The University is 100% percent behind you and wishes you all the luck in the world.’

The solar car is a UKZN initiative, previously known as Hulamin – iKlwa. The team renamed the car Hulamin in gratitude to the aluminium manufacturing company, Hulamin, which has funded and supported the project.

Hulamin Communications Manager, Ms Noma Kanyile, said the company’s view was that the team was extremely resourceful and innovative. ‘These are initiatives the company wants to be associated with.’

iKlwa won the national 2014 Sasol Solar Challenge and set distance records for the Olimpia Class.

Hulamin, an undergraduate Engineering final year project, has a team behind it which includes students and staff from Electronic and Computer Engineering, as well as Mechanical Engineering.

Facts and figures

* Hulamin is five meters long, has an aerodynamically optimised design, weighs under 250 kg, and is nimble and agile. It has an asymmetrical design, with a highly aerodynamic profile which has a very small frontal area.  At just 0,07, the theoretical drag of the car is low, enabling it to go faster and further.

The car is lightweight yet rigid and safe, with a fully carbon-composite monocoque chassis. It has 6m2 of super-high efficiency silicon solar panels to harvest energy from the sun which is then stored in 21kg of lithium ion batteries.

Hulamin, which exhibits the cutting-edge of solar power and electric vehicle technology, is a reflection of the skill and enthusiasm of the UKZN students involved and a demonstration of their dedication.