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UKZN’s solar car production team with Hulamin
Communications Manager, Ms Noma Khanyile.

UKZN’s new and improved UKZN solar car is taking part in the Sasol Solar Challenge – an eight-day race from Pretoria to Cape Town.

The car – named iKlwa which is isiZulu for ‘a short and agile spear’- is the product of a Mechanical Engineering final year project led by Miss Kirsty Veale and Dr Clinton Bemont.  However, the production team includes electronic and computer engineering students, computer science students as well as students from the Durban University of Technology, reflecting the multidisciplinary nature of the project.

Hulamin, which manufactures extruded aluminum products in South Africa, was the main sponsor of the solar car with contributions from UKZN and the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA).

The car was named iKlwa because like a spear it pierces the air with its aerodynamic design being light, nimble and agile. It represents an innovative and efficient design promoting green energy for the future that is rich in local skill and creativity. 

iKlwa is competing in the Olympia class (4 wheels) of the Sasol Solar Challenge.  The UKZN team left Durban on 20 September in order to reach Pretoria in time for the start of the race on 27 September.

The new car has an asymmetrical design with a highly aerodynamic profile that has a small frontal area to improve the aerodynamic drag.  The theoretical drag of the car is very low which means that less energy will be used enabling the car to go faster.

The car – lightweight yet rigid and safe with a fully carbon-composite monocoque chassis – has 6 m2 of silicon solar panels to harness energy from the sun which is stored in 21kg lithium ion batteries. 

iKlwa conforms to FIA and WSC (World Solar Challenge) regulations and the team plans to enter it in the 2015 World Solar Challenge in Australia.