Solar Utility Vehicle

The solar car project goes from strength to strength and now around 50 students, along with students from Ifield Community College, are involved.

The term started with a fifty strong solar team entering the ‘Basking Beastie’ into the Ilumen European Solar Challenge, a prestigious 24hr endurance race run around the famous Belgium Zolder circuit.  The car performed extremely well until one of the two hub motors shorted at about 5 hours into the race. The Beastie managed to limp on and finish the race on one motor.

Since then, the team have been working on three projects.

  • The Solar Utility Vehicle, an off road solar powered car which can supply off grid power with its extendable solar panels. The utility vehicle itself has a very useful rear 6M3 which can be configured to be used for transport, as a medical station, or a mobile kitchen. In the design process we are tying supplying the car with a lower frame allowing others to configure using local materials the top structure of the car. We hope to use this as an educational tool.
  • The online GREEN Technology course where we teach at GCSE level the technologies that make the solar car. The course is divided into units including solar power, battery technology, electric motors, design software etc. We hope by undertaking this, the students will gain a greater knowledge and interest in these highly evolving technologies. The Ardingly pupils have successfully trialled one unit and their positive criticisms have allowed us to further develop the approach. This online course is a first for Ardingly College.
  • The STEM bus: The idea is to have a mobile laboratory downstairs with an upper floor allowing teaching / design to happen. We are envisioning the pupils to enter a STEM themed (changing coloured lighting and floor projections) environment. It will be used for after school STEM clubs and for visiting schools and science shows. With the help of the pupils, the interior has been AutoCad designed, and we have gone out for competitive quotes.


Congratulations to the team who won a silver certificate in the UN sponsored ‘Young Inventor Challenge’. The aim of this competition is to encourage school pupils to develop solutions to help meet sustainable development goals, as set by the United Nations. Originally, there were over one thousand entrants. Well done to all those involved!

Solar Interns (Lucia Sanz Macareno and Benjamin Piggott)