Students and staff from the Mechanical Engineering and Mechatronics Department at CPUT’s Bellville campus officially launched the CPUT Solar Flyer on Thursday. Picture: Henk Kruger / African News Agency (ANA)

Cape Town - The Cape Peninsula University of Technology has unveiled its solar-powered vehicle, designed by the institution’s engineering faculty, to take part in the Sasol Solar Challenge 2018.

The presentation of the CPUT Solar Flyer by the institution’s Mechanical Engineering and Mechatronics Department at the Bellville campus was attended by students, lecturers and pupils from Portland High in Mitchells Plain. The team comprises students from the mechanical engineering and mechatronics departments at the Bellville campus. 

The Solar Flyer is made of aluminium, covered in polyfibre. The solar array is made up of accessible panels and the hub motors are imported kits mounted in the rims of the wheels with hydraulic disc brakes. It was built in just three months at the TIA Adaptronics AMTL research unit’s workshop, and will compete with nine other vehicles designed by institutions from around the world.

Practical experience 

The Mechanical Engineering Department’s Professor Graeme Oliver said the students had to find their own solutions and work with different personalities.

“We involved the students as much as possible, though some decisions had to be made due to the time constraints," he said. "I learnt a lot through this project and the students gained practical experience which will be of great value going forward.”

Department lecturer Felicity Harris said the Sasol Solar Challenge was held every second year between Pretoria and Cape Town, teams from across the world designing and building solar-powered vehicles to drive across the country in an eight-day event. CPUT was the only university in the Western Cape participating, competing with teams from as far as Turkey and Poland.

The vehicle will also be used as a talking point to create awareness around studying engineering.

Cape Times