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Cars: Australian team prepares to break electric car world record
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Cars: Australian team prepares to break electric car world record

2:32 /

We take UNSW's Sunswift eVe solar/electric race car for a test drive as the team prepares to break a 26-year-old speed record.

[MUSIC] I'm Seamus Byrne for CNET and we are here with an Australian University team, getting ready to break a World electric car speed record. Our solar car here, it has a top speed of 140 kms an hour. It has a range of 800 kms, and on a rainy day with no solar power it has a range of 500 kms. In 2007 the team broke the transcontinental record, from the trip from Perth to Sydney and in 2011, the car previous to this one broke the Guinness World Record for the fastest solar car hitting a top speed of 88 kms an hour. The University of East South Wales, Sunswift team is Australia's leading solar racing team. They're going for a new World record, of the highest average speed over 500 kms. Now, for this race they won't be switching on the solar panels. It will just be an energy race based on a battery charge. I've also had a chance to get in and feel, what it's like to drive this solar car. From my experience in the car, you can see why it needs a lot of work to make it street legal. You have to cross your legs in order to get your foot to the mechanical brake. And all of the main controls, are up on the steering column. It's difficult to get in and out, but this is the kind of challenge that is a lot easier than everything else they've done to build this car so far. The efficiency of our car is quite impressive. When you're travelling on the freeway, you know freeway speed is 100, 110 km an hour, you're looking at the car using the equivalent power of four or five turkeys finding a kitchen. In terms of the motors we have on the car their efficiency is up to 97%, which is how we improve the overall efficiency of the car and maintain a high speed. Another big part of conserving energy and making use of our energy, is the regenerative braking systems in the car. Well we can get up to 80% of the power, back when we brake. Two biggest concerns people have with solar and electric cars, are that a, they don't travel fast and then b, they don't travel very fast. So, this is really about curing people's fear of the lack of speed, curing their range anxiety. And kind of showing that this car is not only quick, and can travel quite far but it's really the best of both Worlds. So we can travel at high speeds for long distances which is really what everyone wants. [MUSIC]

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