Bridgestone Corporation (Bridgestone) will supply solar car tyres using its fuel-efficient tyre technology to 32 teams participating in the 2019 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge (BWSC), for which Bridgestone is the naming rights sponsors.

Held in Australia once every two years, the BWSC is the world’s foremost solar car race, with Cambridge University flying the flag for the UK as its team bids for podium success.

Twenty undergraduate students from the university’s Eco Racing (CUER) have completed work on a four-seat solar powered electric car, collaborating with the top automotive companies and experts in the UK to develop and manufacture their new vehicle, “Helia.”

Xiaofan Zhang the team’s Programme Director commented: “CUER was founded in 2008 and built ‘Affinity’, a very large single seat road legal solar car that drove from Lands’ End to John O’Groats. Now, just 10 years later it’s incredible to see how Electric Vehicle technology has developed so far in such a short space of time. These innovations have allowed us to build a four seat car that is much faster, more efficient and practical.”

As a result of these cutting-edge collaborations the team vehicle boasts some impressive figures including:

· Being able to drive with four occupants at 80kph (50mph) using just the power of a kettle.

· Having a single-charge range of over 900km even without using the solar cells, an equivalent of a London to Edinburgh trip.

· Helia’s battery allows for more than double the range of a Tesla, whilst being a quarter of the size.

· Achieving a motorway capable top speed.

CUER is targeting a podium finish in the Cruiser Class – a race category where teams must build multiple occupancy vehicles that are practical, fast and efficient.

The toughest part of the competition this year includes a 1200km stretch which the Cambridge University team will need to complete in just two days without recharging from the grid, all whilst carrying four people on board. The 2019 race event will begin on October 13, 2019, and racers will compete on a course spanning 3,000 km from Darwin on the northern edge of Australia to Adelaide on the southern edge over a period of approximately five days.

The solar car tyres “ECOPIA with ologic” to be supplied to teams competing in this race are fuel-efficient tyres designed specifically for solar cars using fuel-efficient tire technology from Bridgestone, “ologic.” “ECOPIA with ologic” tyres ensure the necessary durability while featuring reduced rolling resistance. Tyres using ologic technology are narrower than standard tyres with a wider diameter, making for a shape that realizes high levels of fuel efficiency and safety. The wider diameter limits changes in the shape of the contact patch to yield lower rolling resistance, which improves fuel efficiency. In addition, the narrower shape reduces air resistance while driving.

“ECOPIA with ologic” solar car tyres

This event partnership seamlessly aligns with the three priority areas of the Bridgestone global corporate social responsibility (CSR) commitment, Our Way to Serve: mobility, people and environment. The Bridgestone World Solar Challenge embodies that philosophy with their purpose to contribute to the development of solar cars, support young engineers, and contribute to the environment while using a new power source: solar light. The Bridgestone Group employs innovation and technology to improve the way people move, live, work, and play.

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