The efficiency rates of cars, since the tremendous advancements in photovoltaic technology, as well as solar-powered car designs, have been made, have truly been skyrocketing. However, these advancements and efficiencies have been most obvious in the realms of solar-powered racing.
A small team from the Australian University of NSW recently managed to completely obliterate the previously established record for solar-powered cars. This team of students created a car that went across Australia, specifically from Perth to Sydney, for just $50 worth of electricity.
The students that were on the Sunswift team of the Unversity of New South Wales built a new solar-powered electric car so that they could break the previous record which was at 5.5 kWh/100 km. Luckily, the team managed to completely blow through this record, by using only 3.25 kWh/100 km. That makes the car twenty-five more times more efficient than the usual cars that are being used around the United States, and almost five times more efficient than the popular Tesla Model 3. This new solar-powered car was named 'Violet', and it managed to cross the 4,100 km (2,555 miles) in a total of 6 days, with an average of 600 km (370 miles) and 20-24 kWh per day. This isn't so bad when you take the onboard storage battery into consideration, which was rated for 10-20 kWh, and the team that only used solar power to charge said storage battery.
And to put all of this information into perspective, people usually pay a lot more than $50 to be able to fill up a single tank of gas, which is a much higher price compared to the cost of electricity that the car used so that it would cross the entire continent. In order to beat the previous record, the university team was facing an uphill battle. They had plenty of setbacks and obstacles along the way to success, which included a rear suspension failure and a battery fire. However, despite all of the setbacks, the university team still ended up at the finish line a whole 2 days ahead of their planned schedule.
Violet is their sixth car and for this version, they put a backup camera which is very important for cars like this, when you think about the fact that the solar-paneled cars lack a rear window.