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Solar cars excite sustainability advocate

The Nuon Solar team from the Netherlands in Port Augusta before they claimed line honours in the 2017 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge.
The Nuon Solar team from the Netherlands in Port Augusta before they claimed line honours in the 2017 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge. Contributed

FOR SOMEONE who has dedicated years to promoting sustainable living in the Clarence Valley, getting up close and personal to the cars taking part in the annual World Solar Challenge race was a thrill for George Oxenbridge and his wife Julie.

Mr Oxenbridge said he and Julie were lucky to catch the cars as they took a break in Port Augusta, where they changed drivers before their final leg to Adelaide.

"The cars only weight 140kg, and the solar collect area is about 4.6sqm, and their battery weighs only 20kg and generate 5000 watts of power," Mr Oxenbridge said.

"The cars are built around the drivers, there's definitely not much room to move in them. It was amazing to see them, we were talking to the Dutch team and they have one of the youngest ever competitors in their team, but he wasn't driving the car. He was in the lead car that would stop to move any roadkill off the road, because the solar cars are built very low to the ground, but he was also learning about the race so he can come back next year and race.

"It was inspiring to see him, and it lifts the heart to see so many positive young folks embracing renewable energy and new technology."

While on their South Australian adventure Mr Oxenbridge said they came across Elon Musk's ambitious battery project near Jamestown, which is set to become the largest lithium ion battery in the world.

"It just looks like rows and rows of white shipping containers," he said.

"It's going to be three times bigger than anything else in the world, and it's going to be connected to a solar farm with 99 wind turbines.

"Renewable energy is really happening over here, it's just so inspiring to see."

Topics:  solar car solar car challenge solar power south australia



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