Singapore Poly's solar car revs up for Australia race

Singapore Poly Engineering students in the SunSPEC5 solar car team
Singapore Poly Engineering students in the SunSPEC5 solar car team PHOTO: SP GROUP
SP Group staff and Singapore Polytechnic alumni Leow Wei Lin, with Singapore Polytechnic student, Sheryl Choo and the SunSPEC 5 solar car.
SP Group staff and Singapore Polytechnic alumni Leow Wei Lin, with Singapore Polytechnic student, Sheryl Choo and the SunSPEC 5 solar car.PHOTO: SP GROUP

SINGAPORE - The latest incarnation of Singapore Polytechnic's solar-powered car SunSPEC5 - unveiled on Friday (July 21) - will be competing once again in October at the World Solar Challenge race in Australia.

The car, which was twenty months in the making, is made from a carbon-fibre reinforced polymer body. It is a two-wheel drive with a 1.5 kilowatt, high-efficiency DC motor, and has a top speed of 100kmh.

Mr Steven Chew, a senior lecturer at Singapore Poly and a team manager who worked on the car, said: "It was tiring but also very fulfilling to see the students build these cars themselves, and work independently."

SunSPEC5 will be the only solar car from Singapore competing in the biennial Australian race. It will be one of the cars from thirty countries taking part in the 3000km race, which starts in Darwin and ends in Adelaide.

This is the third time the poly is entering the race. In 2015 - their second try - an early version of SunSPEC4 was destroyed in a fire when the internal battery pack short-circuited. Luckily, they managed to rebuild the car in under four weeks, and finished in 8th place.

Hopes are high that this year's race in the advanced Cruiser Class category will go smoothly.

The poly has tied up with Singapore grid operator SP Group - an electric utility company - in a five-year contract worth $1 million. The two organisations aim to groom students into prospective engineers.

Mr Leow Wei Lin, 27, who now works for SP Group, said at the time he joined the programme, he had no knowledge about renewable energy when he was a Singapore Poly student. After working on SunSPEC4, he acquired the right skills with training. He now mentors students at the poly.