1988-02-01

The Australian Geographic Team Marsupial Solar-Powered Car 880620

As in all vehicles of this type, low weight and aerodynamic drag must be achieved without compromising safety, and in an extremely rugged structure. This has been done by using a chrome-molybdenum steel space-frame, surrounded by a Kevlar/foam sandwich body shell. The solar panel wing, which uses a laminar flow section to obtain low drag, does not tilt except when the vehicle is stationary. A high degree of redundancy is built into the vehicle; for example there are two motors and transmissions, the solar array is divided into seven parallel sub-arrays, and the power electronics is multiply redundant. Built entirely in the garage of a suburban house, the Australian Geographic Team Marsupial car cost less than US$50,000 to construct.

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