Border breakthrough for solar car

June 2nd, 2015
The kick-off on the 18 June 2015 of The 2015 African Solar Drive is the start of a Sub-Saharan adventure which sees Ilanga II, the University of Johannesburg (UJ) Energy Movement’s solar powered electric car, cross the border into Namibia and Botswana.

Aside from the adventure of the drive, an important focus of The 2015 African Solar Drive is to raise awareness and promote green technology.  By showcasing Ilanga II and hosting public lectures, the UJ Energy Movement aims to educate schools, researchers and people that are interested in pursuing a career in the fields of science and engineering, specifically relating to alternative energy.  The lectures will be taking place in Kimberley, Upington, Windhoek and Gaborone.

During the 4 160 km educational road trip, engineering students will also be collecting and analyzing data to optimise the performance of the vehicle.

Mechanical Engineering Science lecturer and the UJ Energy Movement Programme Manager, Nickey Janse van Rensburg says “The UJ Energy Movement programme was established in 2010 to help promote skills development, energy conservation and sustainability through technology innovation. We are really excited to be taking Ilanga II on its longest trip yet and introducing the programme to our neighbours across Africa.”

Spectators can look forward to seeing Ilanga II along the route and at specific pit stops; the solar powered electric car was awarded the Technology and Innovation Award at the 2014 Sasol Solar Challenge and is one of the most advanced solar powered vehicles produced by UJ students and industry partners to date.

Team and Technology Manger of the Energy Movement programme, Warren Hunter, explains that there are a lot of logistical arrangements behind The 2015 African Solar Drive. “A team of engineers and academics has been involved in the technical planning of this twelve day road trip to make sure operations run as smoothly as possible. We are also happy to announce that Mitsubishi is the official transport partner of the ground patrol team.”

The 2015 African Solar Drive route and lecture dates are as follows:

·         Tuesday, 09 June:                    Johannesburg (Public Lecture and launch of African Solar Drive)

·         Thursday, 18 June:                  UJ Solar Lab  – Kimberley (Public Lecture)

·         Friday, 19 June:                         Kimberley – Upington (Public Lecture)

·         Saturday, 20 June:                   Upington) – Hakskeen Pan – Rietfontein Border Control – Keetmans Hoop

·         Sunday, 21 June:                      Keetmanshoop – Mariental – Rehoboth

·         Monday, 22 June:                    Rehoboth – Windhoek (Public Lecture)

·         Tuesday, 23 June:                    Windhoek– Swakopmund – Walvis Bay

·         Wednesday, 24 June:             Walvis Bay – Swakopmund

·         Thursday, 25 June:                  Swakopmund – Windhoek – Buitepos

·         Friday, 26 June:                         Buitepos – Kang

·         Saturday, 27 June:                   Kang – Sekoma – Kanye – Gabarone

·         Sunday, 28 June:                      Gaborone Day (Public Lecture)

·         Monday, 29 June:                    Gaborone – UJ Solar Lab

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