UKZN’s Solar Car, iKlwa, beat all South African
teams to come first in the South African Category
and third overall in the 2014 Sasol Solar Car

iKlwa, the 2014 UKZN Solar Car, finished first in the South African category and third overall in the recent Sasol Solar Challenge – an eight-day race from Pretoria to Cape Town – which attracted entrants from all over the world.

Technical problems meant the UKZN team only started racing at midday on the second day of the event but this did not deter them from pushing for a win.

Said Project Manager and PhD student Ms Kirsty Veale: ‘The team is ecstatic – we can’t believe that we managed to do so well in spite of starting late. It was great coming home to a heroes’ welcome of sparklers and vuvuzelas at the Mechanical Engineering building. I think the realisation of winning is only kicking in now as waking up at 4am every day for such a long time takes its toll!

‘We had a sad and dramatic start with the car literally exploding from a silly fatigue-induced human error which resulted in us having to rewire the entire car. However, once the vehicle was running again we caught up and the team spirit was renewed producing an emotional shift to absolute happiness and excitement.’

The UKZN team was 40 km behind the North West University team on the start of the final day but eventually beat their rival by 57.7 km to secure the title of Top SA team and third overall.

iKlwa, which covered a distance 2418.3 km, is in superb working condition despite needing some maintenance.

‘The team aims to get the car to the World Solar Challenge but we really need the assistance of sponsors as it costs a lot to enter. Hopefully our success in the Sasol Solar Challenge will help us get the funding and put South Africa on the map in solar car racing,’ said Veale.