Ardingly students to take part in European challenge with pioneering solar car

Ardingly College built and manufactured a solar car which is now going to become the first ever to represent the UK and Northern Ireland in the European Solar Challenge. Pic Steve Robards SR1824697 SUS-180918-153927001
Ardingly College built and manufactured a solar car which is now going to become the first ever to represent the UK and Northern Ireland in the European Solar Challenge. Pic Steve Robards SR1824697 SUS-180918-153927001

Students from Ardingly College who have designed and built a pioneering solar car are to represent Britain at a European challenge in Belgium this weekend.

They will be among 20 teams from universities and companies taking part in the prestigious solar event at Zolder.

The Ardingly students’ construction of the car is the biggest engineering project ever tackled by a school - with the aid of 23 major companies and three universities.

As well as taking part in the race in Belgium, the students will also take part in the Bridgestone 3000km World Solar Challenge in Australia next year.

Ardingly’s solar car project began in 2013 and since then nearly 250 pupils have been involved. Currently, there are 40 working on the newest version of the car - known affectionately by the team as the ‘Basking Beastie’.

The car is showcasing the latest technologies in Zolder, with full systems integration and a proprietary battery system. The car is primarily designed to be able to complete the Australian trek under solar power alone, which if completed, will be a first for any UK team, university or company.

MP Jeremy Quin said: “This is a hugely impressive project in which students have worked with McLaren and other leading companies and used their own innovative designs to create a solar powered car capable of 70mph. They will be competing against the best in the world both in the European Solar Challenge at Zolder and then on their solar-powered trek right across Australia. I wish them every success.” 

Headmaster Ben Figgis said: “This is an amazingly ambitious engineering project that involves a range of skills and training, which our girls and boys are undertaking with enthusiasm and dedication. It is thrilling to witness and testament to the real academic distinction of Ardingly College.”