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Waikato electric car to race across Australia

Last night a group of University of Waikato mechanical engineering students unveiled their masterpiece – an electric car they will race 3000km from Darwin to Adelaide over six days next month.

The team has been working on the refurbishment of the car for the last six months in preparation for the 2013 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge which begins in Darwin on 6 October. The UltraCommuter car was unveiled at an exclusive event at the University’s Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts, before its trans-Tasman journey to Darwin later this week, ahead of the team.

The University’s electric car was built in 2007. Its latest refurbishment has included reformatting of the suspension system and upgrading control systems, brakes and the body shell.

About 44 teams from 25 countries are signed up to compete in this year’s challenge, which is the world’s largest solar electric vehicle event and began in the 1980s. A total of eight University staff and students are heading to Darwin for the race, including the four key engineering students, Sam Berkers, Luke Overton, Sam Waetford and Kyle van de Pas and their supervisor, Senior Engineering Lecturer Dr Mike Duke.

The biennial event attracts international teams from universities, technical institutes and private entrepreneurs that compete in three main classes: Challenger, Cruiser and Adventure.
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