New Zealand's Solar Car in the 2007 Panasonic World Solar Challenge
Driving Solar Powered from Bluff to Cape Reinga - December 2011
Solar Fern will start our NZ tour on SATURDAY!
The Wizzard of Christchurch will be doing a Sun Dance to help us on our way!
and check out the cars and see us off as we start our long awating NZ tour!
NZ tour is ON!
Leg 1: Christchurch to Invercargill - 4 to 8 Decemebr 2011
Leg 2: Bluff to Cape Reinga - 9 to 15 December 2011
For the first leg, from Christchurch to Invercargill, we will be traveling with an electric car from Waikato University, and a German Solar Car from Bochum University. The Bochum solar car is driving from Auckland to Invercargill as part of a World Tour, the first car to ever circumnavigate the globe on solar power alone. We will be traveling around 150km each day, which will allow for any bad weather, and give us plenty of time to sort out any issues, and fine tune the Solar Fern for the record setting second leg.
second leg, from Bluff to Cape Reinga we will be traveling as far as the
sunshine will take us each day, attempting to set records, so our progress
will be highly weather dependent. A rough outline of our estimated schedule
Day 1: 9th, Invercargill to Bluff, take the photos, then back to Invercargill, then continuing North on the inland route, passnig Queenstown, Cromwell, hopefully passing Tekapo as well.
Day 2: 10th, Carrying on via the inland road to Christchurch, perhaps making it to Kaikoura.
Day 3: 11th, The last few hundred km to Picton. We hope to spend some time in Piction charging our batteries from the solar panel in the afternoon.
Day 4: 12th, Ferry to Wellington. No public display.
Day 5: 13th, The longest day! With fully charged batteries and good sunshine we hope to travel over 500km in one day, maybe even 600km! We plan to start from Parliment buildings at 7am.
Day 6: 14th, Through Aukland, and onways into Northland, maybe even making it to the Cape today, if the weather and the car is just a little better than perfect!
7: 15th. This is when we expect to make
it Cape Reinga, if we don't make it the day before
But we may not stick to that, since we can't control the weather :) We'll update Facebook daily, and post regular position and ETA updates on Twitter as we go.
Check out Twitter to see when we will go through your town and come out to support us as we go by!
Photos from the race are now in the gallery!
At the track in Darwin
Solar Fern crosses the finish line
We made it!
Press Releases (including daily placings)
Solar Fern on 60 Minutes Screened: Moday, 5th November 2007
60 minutes program followed Solar Fern and two other non-solar NZ teams
across Australia in the 2007 Panasonic World Solar Challenge. Their program
was screened on Monday night and is now available on-line
Unfortunately 60 Minutes were not able to be at the finish line on Sunday when we arrived.
Fern finished in 12th position out of 19 in the Adventure class. Over half
the cars did not complete the full distance in the 8 days allowed, and
many were forced off the road during a severe storm on Saturday, including
the Solar Fern.
Solar Fern on TV 3 News Screened: Sunday, 28th October 2007
Watch the TV 3 News item on-line here:
Video of Solar Fern now on YouTube
Despite the rain on Sun-day we still managed to demo the Solar Fern to an enthusiastic crowd. A short video of the car at the event is now available on You Tube here
solar Fern is now in transit to Australia, ready for the race, starting
on the 21st of October.
The Solar Fern at our unveiling
Unveiling of the Solar Fern!
A&P Show Grounds - Sunday 23rd September - 1pm
entrance on Wigram Road
got Solar Panels! 27/8/2007
are delighted to announce that Pipers
Patent Attorneys, the current owner of the class winning 1993 Solar
Kiwi, will be lending us the solar panels off their car. These will provide
1000W of solar power, enabling Solar Fern to cruise at around 75kph. They
will be fitted smoothly around the gently curves off the Solar Fern, as
a fixed array, instead of a tilting array like the design of the Solar
Tilting the array allowed the panel on the Solar Kiwi to be pointed directly at the sun all day, giving approximately 20% more average power than a fixed array. But this comes at the cost of greater aerodynamic drag, and poor stability in sidewinds and at high speed. This forces the driver to slow down or stop when conditions get bad. In fact the Solar Kiwi was actually picked up by a whirlwind and thrown off the road in the 1993 race!
Our streamlined, integrated design has only half the drag of a tilting panel design, and our wind-tunnel-proven aerodynamics allows the Solar Fern to actually speed up in crosswinds, while still being perfectly stable.
With half the drag, but only a 20% reduction in average power, and with no need to stop or slow down in bad weather, we expect to significantly out perform the class winning 1993 tilting panel design, even with the same solar panels!
By comparison the 1999 MIT car, Manta GTX, achieved a race time of 45 hours with less than 1000W. In 2005 the MIT car Tesseract achieved a race time of 40 hours, again with only 1000W (due to an accident which damaged their solar array), and the 2005 Belgian car, Umicar, achieved 47 hours with much less than 1000W (also the result of a damaged solar array). This year many cars will have only 6 m2 of solar cell area, reducing their power by as much as 30%.
With only a few weeks to go until our car is shipped to Australia we are in the final stages of preparing the car ready for the race. We are now fundraising for the many unavoidable and significant logistical costs of competing in the race. Even with individual team members covering their own costs, there are still many other costs to cover including insurance, port handling fees, customs clearance fees, support vehicles, equipment, spare parts and fuel for the support vehicles! We will be hundreds of kilometers away from any shop or even water and electricity, so we must carry everything with us: food, camping gear, a generator, a welder, tools, electronic test gear, weather equipment, computers, and spare parts. Races can be won or lost on the strength of a teams logistical support.
We need your support to be at our best in the 2007 Panasonic World Solar Challenge.
All supporters club members get a poster, certificate, and their name on the car. We've got group and family membership packages, and packages for business supporters to get a small name or logo on back of the car somewhere.
For $1,000 a business supporter can get a business card size logo on the car, and over $2,000 gets your company much larger spaces on the car and logos on our poster and website.
our latest sponsorship prospectus or supporters
club page for more details.
The body shell is done and ready for painting!
It's been a long road, but finally the body shell is done and fitted to the chassis. There's plenty of new photos in the gallery of the body work under construction. We're finishing off the final details of the join on the leading edge and the indicators and brake lights. Then we paint it!
The bodywork has come out pretty light, with a total weight of under 40kg, yet it's still remarkably strong.
thanks to our composite sponsors Synthepol, Adhesive Technologies, and
High Modulus. Their commitment to our project has made it the success that
sponsors Solar Fern's lithium polymer batteries
manufacturers Defond have joined our team as battery sponsors. This has
allowed us to buy the 192 lithium polymer battery packs that make up our
high performance battery system.
Our new battery pack will give us a range of over 300km on a single charge, without any power from the solar panels, and more importantly, it will allow us to manage the varying power requirements as we drive up hills and as the solar power varies with the weather and throughout the day.
We charge the batteries from the solar panels whenever the car is stopped or when we are driving slowly through towns. Then we use the extra charge when we need more power than the solar panels can provide by themselves.
Each 3 cell pack is 11.1V and 2.15Ah and gives access to all 3 internal cells. They will be wired into a matrix of 16 cells in parallel by 36 cells in series (12 packs in series), giving a nominal voltage of 133V.
joins the team
thanks to our latest sponsor Arvus Group, devlopers of the new Hypacoustic™
cinema sound system, soon to be opening in cinemas throughout New Zealand
We are proud to have the support of a cutting edge New Zealand technology company like Arvus.
shipping to carry Solar Fern to Australia
thanks to MSC shipping, who are providing container services to and from
Adelaide for the Solar Fern, and our equipment and a support vehicle.
date: 27th September 2007
More images in the photo gallery
Fern achieves credible top speed - even before the low drag body shell
With the bodyshell fitted, the same power will push the Solar Fern to over 120 kph, or climb the steepest hill in the race at a steady 70 kph.
And this is only limited by the cheap lead batteries we are using in testing. Our new Lithium batteries will easilly double the power and save 90kg of weight - but we need your support to get them!
are required in solar cars to climb hills and keep going when the sun is
not strong. - We charge them from the solar panels whenever we stop or
when the sun is strong.]
Fitzsimons test drives Solar Fern
Fitzsimons, co-leader of the NZ Greens Party, visited
Solar Fern in April as part of the Green Party's Climate
Defence Tour. The Green Party Co-leaders have been touring the country
during April and June urging people to push the Government on climate change.
NZ tour postponed until after the World Solar Challenge
pressures have meant that work on the car has been more labour intensive
than we had planned, as we are having to do everything the hard way to
save money. Unfortunately this has meant that the car will not be ready
for a tour in July, and we need to focus on finishing the car for the race.
Even small donations will make a big difference when it comes to getting
the job done on time. Join our supporters club
and help us get there!
tour will now take place after the World Solar Challenge, in early 2008.
Date yet to be determined.
Sponsors Secure Materials For Body Shell
Fern Racing is delighted to announce the support
of High Modulus, Adhesive Technologies and Synthepol as official suppliers
of composite materials and resins. This allows us to complete our sleek
aerodynamic body shell. The body shell fits around our space frame chassis,
reducing aerodynamics drag to one tenth of the drag of a normal road car,
while providing the greatest area for our solar panels that is allowed
under the race regulations.
"plug" for the main body shell is now completed, and we are ready to make
the mould for the final carbon fibre body shell. The plug is a solid block
of foam and fibreglass, carefully shaped and polished to represent the
final shape of the car. To make the final body shell we must first make
a mould from the plug, then carefully lay the carbon fibre and lightweight
nomex cores into the mould to get the lightest and strongest possible shell.
This plug is for the sides and underside of the car, which has the most
complex shapes. The top of the car is much simpler, and will be a simple
framework that the solar panels are attached to. We also need smaller moulds
for the wheel spats and canopy.
Plug for the under side body shell
More photos in our photo gallery
Minutes to follow Solar Fern in World Solar Challenge
|Solar Fern Racing is pleased to announce that TV3's 60 minutes program will be following the Solar Fern through the Australian outback during the 2007 World Solar Challenge.|
Fern on show at the Sustainability Expo
Saturday & Sunday 27th & 28th January 2007 - Rolleston Community Center - Rolleston Drive
Solar Fern on TV One News 16 Januray 2007
of the article can be found on the TVNZ website here
Solar Fern in New Zealand Geographic November - December 2006 Issue
Fern on Front page of "The Press" motoring section
"Drive" section : "The Press" 14-15 October 2006
Fern Media Launch and Public Display
Saturday 7th October 2006 - Media launch - Canterbury Agricultural Show Grounds - Invitation only event
official project media launch. Inviting media, supporters and potential
sponsors. Track testing and car display, media photo opportunities etc.
Contact Rob@solarfern.com for an
Sunday 15th October 2006 10am - 2pm - Public Display - Canterbury Agricultural Show Grounds - Open to the public
in association with the KiwiHPVHuman
Powered Challenge. Solar fern racing will be displaying the car to
the general public. Come and have a look!
Fern is Rolling! [15/8/6]
Fern Racing has achieved the first big milestone:
The rolling chassis!
We're one year and two months out from race day, and Solar Fern is rolling! But this is only the beginning, and there's plenty more to do. Over the next few weeks we will finish the steering and suspension and wire up the motor and batteries, so we can drive Solar Fern for the very first time!
Then we PARTY!
At this very early stage our chassis is just the bare bones of what is yet to come. We need huge support to bring Solar Fern up to the class winning standard we aim to achieve. We will soon start work on our composite bodyshell, and we'll need proper racing wheels (bike wheels won't be good enough for the race!), and top quality breaks and shocks, lithium batteries, electrical systems, and of course the solar array! Then we need to get it all to Australia with all the support crew, equipment, and spare parts. Help us out by joining our supporters club and making a donation!
Huge thanks to our sponsors, especially Davinci Communications, Thompson Aeronautical, Sapphire Dynamics, and Woodly's Aircraft Services whose assistance and contributions have be invaluable in achieving this milestone.
Now more than ever, we need your support to make Solar Fern the best that it can be, and to make New Zealand proud!
our supporters club or check out how your
business can benefit from sponsoring the Solar
out our rolling chassis in our photo gallery
Model solar car kits and solar construction kits are available NOW!
model solar car kits and solar powered construction kits are available
Solar Fern confirms Adventure class
are please to confirm that we will be entering the Adventure Class in the
2007 Panasonic World Solar Challenge. Construction of our ISF 5000 vehicle
for the Adventure Class continues.