The university of North West Solar car called Naledi

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Solar Car‏ from North West

A new solar car from the University of the North West Naledi is set to show case the abundance of renewable energy resources that are available in South Africa as it competes at the World Solar Challenge in Australia. Naledi is the 2017 iteration of the solar car that will be competing in the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge starting in early October at Australia for the total race of 3000km. Even though the real Naledi shows over night, the team’s success is something only a layman could imagine as engineers translate in technical terms. Naledi, the Setswana word for star, boasts a brand new design with the body based on the JS3 Jonker Sailplane that also has its roots at the Faculty of Engineering, giving Naledi sublime aerodynamic attributes. “We chose the name ‘Naledi’ because we feel that like a star we rise above our competition,” said Professor Albert Helberg, team captain. The team will be aiming to hold a constant speed of between of 70 to 80km/h by generating 8kWh throughout the day. According to CP Kloppers, one of the project engineers, the team is adamant their design will pay dividends. Restriction in number of solar panels and other technical constraints will not be the team’s only test they will face. “The heat is going to be our biggest challenge. It is going to tire us out and it is going to reduce the efficiency of our solar panels out. You also need to be wary of trucks carrying large freights on the road. Another obstacle will be the places where there is severe wind, but we have a very stable design and I am positive that we will be able to navigate that challenge as well”, said the team member. In 2016 the team from the NWU achieved the longest distance by a South African team, the longest daily distance by a South African team, won the Team Professionalism and Safety Award as well as the Spirit of Africa award in the Sasol Solar Challenge. “A car like this does not appear overnight. It takes a dedicated team and staff members as well as ample support from our various sponsors and the community. I want to thank each and every one for their contributions.” Said Helberg Supporterting in the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge starting in early October at Australia for the total race of 3000km.

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