The EV averaged more than 100km/h over the 500km distance on a single battery charge, convincingly beating the old mark of 73km/h set 26 years ago.
How far above 100km/h? The team isn’t saying just yet, as the record needs to be verified by the world’s governing body for motorsport - the FIA – before it can be made official.
The record was set at the Australian Automotive Research Centre at Anglesea near Geelong in Victoria, and should become the first FIA record set in Australia since 1984 (set in a production-based petrol-powered sedan).
The students are from the Sunswift team which usually focusses its energies on solar car racing, but the record-breaking EV is the fifth electric effort for the team since 1996. The team has already bagged the record for ‘fastest solar car’ in the past.
“This record was about establishing a whole new level of single-charge travel for high-speed electric vehicles, which we hope will revolutionise the electric car industry,” Project Director and third-year engineering student, Hayden Smith, said.
"Five hundred kilometres is pretty much as far as a normal person would want to drive in a single day. [Hayden clearly hasn’t met our man Trev… - Ed] It's another demonstration that one day you could be driving our car.”
The Sunswift team won’t be resting on its laurels however, with plans to adapt the car to meet Australian road registration requirements within the space of one year.
The team says the car is capable of travelling further than 500km thanks to solar panels on the roof and bonnet that recharge the battery while on the move, but these panels were disabled for the record-breaking attempt.