Solar Car Project

The Ardingly Solar Car Team were the first school in Europe to design, build and race a solar-powered vehicle 3,020km from Darwin to Adelaide across Australia in the 2015 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge.

They completed the challenge a second time in 2019 and this time worked in partnership with Ifield Community College to build a much more sophisticated model.

Three teams worked on the project:

  • The Mechanics Team, responsible for designing and building our car;
  • The Electronics Team, whose main task is to design and programme the circuitry and systems needed for the car;
  • The Business Team, concerned with issues such as finance, sponsorship and promotion.

The future of the solar car – team are now working towards another challenge.

Ardingly College, in partnership with Ifield Community College, continues to take an educational lead in teaching the technologies required for sustainable transport. To this end Ardingly Solar, in conjunction with the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI), has developed three major initiatives.

  • Attempt to drive the Solar Car from John O’Groats to Haywards Heath, in order to highlight sustainable transport and to raise monies for the IMI’s charity BEN.
  • Design, build and test a flat pack supplied solar-powered car for the developing world. The mobile battery is designed to power a small home when not being used for travel. This car, already well under development, will be tested by Ardingly College’s supported schools in Kenya.
  • As an educational initiative implement a new extra-curricular course through the IMI. This will give structure and industry-recognised awards to the Ardingly Solar programme. We are intending to start the course in September 2020.

Why do this from an educational point of view?

  • To equip our future engineers and scientists with the latest technology;
  • To expose our students to the industrial and research worlds;
  • To bring in-house new skills;
  • To empower our students and to let them make informed career choices;
  • To encourage product design and allow our students to have a route to develop products for the market place;
  • To form a basis for ensuring that students keep links with Ardingly whilst in education and future careers;
  • To inspire our students to strive and have ambitious but achievable targets;
  • AND – to have fun whilst learning.

“Ardingly Solar’s undertaking is an excellent way for students to engage in an exciting area of new technology and it gives them an understanding of team work, engineering and running a business.”

David Smith, Chief Financial Officer Rolls Royce

“Ardingly’s Solar Car project brings to mind the daring contribution of the scientists and engineers who created the manufacturing revolution that made Britain the world’s top industrial nation.”

Rt Hon Francis Maude, MP

“McLaren recognises that somewhere amongst such young people might be the next R J Mitchell or Kelly Johnson, the next Isambard Kingdom Brunel or Adrian Newey. Indeed, if the standard of engineering that I have seen on the Solar Car here today, and if the potential that I have witnessed in the students are anything to go by, perhaps the worthy successors to those incredible engineering icons will come from some of the students present today.”

Robert Tyers , McLaren Automotive