Car makes record-breaking 621-mile trip on single charge

Credit: Richard Freeman/UNSW Sydney/Cover Images

An electric car has made a record-breaking 621-mile (1,000km) trip on a single charge powered by the sun.

The solar-powered Sunswift 7 averaged nearly 53mph (85kph) in under twelve hours to set a Guinness World Record while completing 240 laps of a track to represent the distance from Sydney to Melbourne.

Sunswift 7 is the latest in a long line of successful solar-powered cars developed by students at the University of New South Wales, Sydney, since the first vehicle was produced in 1996.

Weighing just 1,200 pounds (500kg), about one-quarter that of a Tesla, the vehicle boasts impressive efficiencies thanks to its aerodynamic design, the efficiency of the motors and drive chain, and incredibly low rolling resistance.

For their World Record, the UNSW team put the car through its paces at the Australian Automotive Research Centre (AARC) in Wensleydale, Victoria. They now hold the record for the 'Fastest EV over 1,000km on a single charge.'

Sunswift Team Manager Andrea Holden, a Mechanical Engineering student at UNSW Sydney, was delighted with the car's performance and ecstatic to be part of a prestigious world record.

"It feels very weird to think that we've helped to make something that's the best in the entire world," she said. "Two years ago, when we started to build this car, everything was going into lockdown and there were a lot of difficult moments. But it's been so rewarding to see the whole team come together and make so much progress and get us to this amazing point."

Sunswift 7 completed 240 laps of AARC's Highway Circuit to break the record, stopping only to allow for a change of drivers every few hours - plus one tyre change due to a puncture and the nerve-wracking battery management repair.