A team of students from Georgia Tech recently rolled out a hyper-modified electric Audi TT that runs on electricity harvested from the sun. The solar-electric hybrid was designed to participate in the World Solar Challenge in Australia, which challenges designers to race for thousands of miles using solar power.

Buckhead Eco-Collection, electric cars, Georgia Tech students, Solar Jackets, solar powered cars, Solar-assisted electric car, Solar-electric vehicles, World Solar Challenge

Who said students are useless layabouts? Not me, that’s for sure – especially when they take time out from drinking beer and watching TV to convert an Audi TT into a solar-electric hybrid. The Georgia Tech students presented their car at the Buckhead Eco-Collection and showcased its features.

The electric car is equipped with two batteries, one of which is charged via solar panels. This battery is responsible for running the power brakes, windows and power steering. The other battery runs the car’s drivetrain and can be charged from an electric socket. A 120-volt battery pack powers the Audi engine, giving it a 70-mile radius between charges. The Solar Jackets plan to add a lithium-ion battery system to the car that will increase the travel radius to 140 miles.

The World Solar Challenge, which was started way back in 1987, challenges solar-powered vehicles to race thousands of miles in order to advance solar and electric vehicle technology. The race brings together the world’s top engineering colleges and this year’s challenge looks to be the closest yet. The six-day race will take place in October this year, and will go from Darwin to Adelaide. Over 50 students are said to be working on their college’s entry.

While the vehicle is a remarkable feat of engineering, we’re not entirely comfortable with the fact that the battery that powers the breaks could potentially go flat in drab weather

+ World Solar Challenge

+ Georgia Tech

Via Green Optimistic