Durham University Embarks on Sun-Chasing Journey in Partnership with Bridgestone

Durham University is gearing up for an exciting adventure in Australia as it prepares to compete in the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge. The challenge involves a 3,000km journey from October 22 to October 29, and the university's team of students has designed a remarkable three-wheeled asymmetrical catamaran-style car for the event.

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Published on
July 25, 2023

This ambitious project has been in development for two years, with extensive remote study and digital planning, overcoming obstacles posed by the global pandemic. The goal was to create a sustainable vehicle capable of cruising with impressive efficiency, consuming only 1 kWh of energy -- equivalent to that of a conventional microwave.

To tackle this challenge, Bridgestone stepped in to provide custom-made ENLITEN tyres, specifically designed for the solar-powered car. The ENLITEN tyre technology platform, with its innovative tire development approach, played a pivotal role in maximising the vehicle's performance and safety. Moreover, this advanced technology enhances the sustainability aspect of the tyres, making them fully EV-ready and adaptable to the latest mobility trends.

Durham University's solar-powered car features a 5kWh battery pack, granting it the ability to travel up to 350km on a single charge. The vehicle's engineering includes asymmetrical double wishbone suspension, ensuring optimal steering geometry, and a micro-pyramid surface on the solar array to improve energy efficiency. The use of lightweight carbon fiber wheels, instead of aluminium, contributes to the overall efficiency of the car, and an induction cooling feature regulates temperatures during the long drive across Australia.

Bridgestone's involvement in the World Solar Challenge showcases its commitment to fostering a more sustainable future and supporting the development of groundbreaking technologies to reduce carbon emissions. As part of its sponsorship, Bridgestone equips Durham University with cutting-edge tyres that elevate the performance of their solar-powered vehicle.

Andrea Manenti, Vice President of Bridgestone North, expressed pride in supporting the World Solar Challenge and being part of the initiative to drive innovation and sustainability in the transportation sector. The collaboration aims to inspire and support the next generation of engineers and leaders who will play a crucial role in shaping the future of sustainable mobility.

The combination of Durham University's bright minds and Bridgestone's tire technology will undoubtedly make this sun-chasing journey a remarkable and promising endeavour.

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