RS recently had a visit from what can only be described as an odd looking space vehicle. There were however no aliens; some may debate this but the only attendees I could spot were RS employees, a few journalists and UJ (University of Johannesburg) representatives. It was in fact a visit from UJ with the very first solar car they had built to participate in the Sasol Solar Challenge.
The Sasol Solar Challenge is quite an event. It takes place biennially and the participants come from Educational institutions from all over the globe. It involves students effectively building a solar car which can take part in an endurance race. Speed, distance and all sorts of other aspects are taken in to account.
This year the race will start on the 27th of September in Pretoria, will run over the course of 8 days, and will end in Cape Town. The main route will be approximately 2000km long meaning an overage distance of 260 km per day but the option to expand daily distances and driving loops is available.
This is a great initiative for Research and Development purposes in the alternative energy space as well as a fantastic learning tool for students as it helps them to become industry ready. Students work with various aspects relating to real business situations such as budgeting, planning, engineering, sourcing sponsorship, working as part of a team, taking responsibility and much more. This may even support the development of more experts and skilled workers in South Africa. For all of these reasons RS South Africa is sponsoring UJ’s participation in this year’s event. RS has made available R1M whereby UJ can choose any of RS’s 500 000 products to help in building their solar vehicle. This includes components to go inside the car, tools to help build the car and as well as for tools and extra parts during the race.
Here at RS we are very excited to see how UJ will do in the race. It’s very interesting to hear all the details of this year’s car compared to the very first car UJ built. It’s of a different calibre.
On the 5th of August UJ will officially unveil their vehicle which will participate in the 2014 race. We are very excited to see the new solar car tomorrow when we attend the launch event – it is inspiring to witness all the hard work, research, time and passion that have gone in to UJ’s 2014 solar car so we are positive the new vehicle will be a reflection of all of that. We will definitely be following the event and cheering UJ on throughout the race but hopefully we can share some more details of UJ’s 2014 Solar Vehicle before the race starts.
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