Congratulations are due to the crew of the Nuna4, the solar-powered car which nipped across Australia in 33 hours 17 minutes and crossed the finishing line in the World Solar Challenge first for the fourth year in a row.
The solar car project is the brainchild of a team of 11 students at Delft University of Technology – proof that, despite what some would have us believe, not all students are semi-literate, unconcerned about striving for excellence and happy to take courses in useless subjects.
Indeed, no sooner was the race won, and environment minister Jacqueline Cramer was sending over her congratulations. ‘I see the Netherlands as leader in climate policy and innovation,’ she gushed. ‘You have shown Australia and the rest of the world what we are capable of.’
Interesting use of the word ‘we’ there. The Nuna website has a very long list of sponsors but makes no mention of government funding – but of course this may just a small oversight on the students’ part.
Still, all the winning team now need to do is translate Nuna’s success onto the Dutch market – an average speed of 91 kph and top speed of 142 kph mean the car is a bit too fast for Dutch roads.
There is, of course, another problem. For a successful solar-powered car, you need an endless supply of sunshine. Doubtless the bright sparks at Delft will be working on solving that one as well – with a little government backing.
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