17 September 2019

Can a sleek, sporty, Aussie outback Queen, steal the crown from the seemingly unconquerable Dutch champions, in this year’s Bridgestone World Solar Challenge?

That’s the question Australia’s first national, five state, five university collaboration, known as The Australian Technology Network (ATN) Solar Car Team, hope they can answer with a resounding yes. At her launch today, the hot pink spotlight shone on Priscilla, a high-tech, aerodynamic, carbon fibre solar electric sports car, as she emerged, chrysalis like, from under her sparkling silver cover for the first time.

ATN Executive Director, Luke Sheehy, said the realisation of Priscilla was the result of an incredible collaborative effort from five of Australia’s most innovative universities: RMIT University; UTS; University of South Australia, Curtin University and QUT.

‘Our journey started more than two years ago, when a bold plan was hatched to develop a multi-disciplinary project that represented the values of the ATN as a new generation of universities focused on industry collaboration and real-world research. As the concept of building a Cruiser Class solar car to compete in the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge took shape, ATN realised the project could positively impact Australia’s role in future technology development, and at the same time give students the opportunity to be work-ready, global thinkers with the enthusiasm to challenge technology boundaries,’ Mr Sheehy said.

Speaking at today’s launch, Bridgestone World Solar Challenge Event Director, Chris Selwood AM, said it was exciting to see this ambitious project come to life.

‘When I first heard about the idea of five universities designing and building a solar car in five separate states, I wasn’t sure how they’d get it done. The scale and logistics of the BWSC is not to be underestimated. To be successful in the Cruiser Class, you need a lot more than speed, you need energy efficiency, practical ‘real car’ features and the added subjective judging component of market desirability,’ Mr Selwood said.

‘ATN has certainly embraced the concept! As you prepare to take on some fifty other teams, seven of them flying the Aussie flag, I wish you every success on the road to Adelaide and beyond,’ Mr Selwood said.