Engineering Now .: Volume 4 - Edition 1 .: September 2007

Students Shine at Sunstang Unveiling

By Becky Blue

Western Engineering students are hoping that sunny Australia proves to be just that when they take their solar-powered car – known as the Sunstang – there for an international race in October.

The official unveiling of this years edition of the Sunstang was held on the university campus Monday, September 24 in front of staff, students and members of the local media.

Team spokesman Anthony La Torre was happy with the encouragement his student-run group received from both the university and London communities.

“The unveiling ceremony was a success, the team was very pleased with the turnout, emphasizing the support that the university is offering,” he said. “We were also pleased to see the various media outlets present, publicizing the accomplishments of the team on a larger scale. It was amazing to see the level of interest that both the general public and members of the media had for a solar-powered car.”

La Torre and ten fellow teammates will test their mettle during the grueling 3,000 kilometre Panasonic World Solar Challenge. They will race other solar cars across the Australian outback on a course that begins in Darwin, and ends in Adelaide, competing against 46 teams from 21 countries.

With a competition of this nature, La Torre says just completing the race would be a huge accomplishment. But why stop there?

“We have many hopes for the competition in Australia,” he said. “Completing the race is a feat in itself, however the team is aiming for a top 10 finish.”

The solar car itself is the latest in a series of designs done by Western Engineering students since 1993. This newest version has a cruising speed of around 100 km/h and it weighs about 200 kilograms.

Regardless of whether the Sunstang team completes the whole race, or what position they finish in, the trip will be a valuable learning experience for all involved. That is something that La Torre and his team keep in mind during the rush leading up to their departure for Australia.

“The ultimate goal is to gain students experience practicing engineering, and have a fun time doing it,” he said.


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.: Allison Stevenson
Spencer Engineering Building, Room 2074
Telephone: (519) 850-2917 Fax: (519) 661-3808