SYDNEY, Dec. 1 (Xinhua) -- A team of students from an Australian university have left the Western Australian city of Perth on Saturday, in an attempt to break the world record for transversing the continent with the lowest energy consumption in an electric car.
The University of New South Wales (UNSW) crew plan to make the 4,000 km journey to Sydney across the country's harsh desert center using only 5.5 kw of energy per hour.
"Traditional cars are highly inefficient. When cruising, our car "Violet" uses about the same amount of energy as a four-slice toaster and we are aiming to use about eight times less energy per kilometer than a Tesla," Chelsea Liang, operations lead for the Sunswift solar car team said.
With the group made up of students aged 18 to 21, Violet is the sixth solar car designed and built by UNSW since the team was established in 1996.
Although most of the group are of engineers and designers, the team also call upon several other scientific disciplines as well as other fields like commerce.
"I see immediate benefit for students who participate in student-led programs such as Sunswift while at university, that being the significant competitive advantage they have upon entering the workforce," UNSW Dean of Engineering Professor Mark Hoffman said.
"These students gain real hands-on, project-based learning in engineering, in addition to other aspects of our world-class teaching, providing our students with a unique university experience and a truly well-rounded education, " the professor said.
"They leave university not only with a first-class engineering degree, but also practical experience, plus teamwork, project management, budgeting and communications skills, all needed to do well in a corporate environment."
For the moment, however, students say that they just want to inspire their fellow Australians to learn more about solar technology and the planet-saving benefits of renewable energy.
"I am hoping that people will come out to see us along our journey and talk to us about the benefits of reducing our impact on our planet and how we can all contribute to this cause," the operations lead said.
But despite the wide-eyed optimistic attitude of those involved in the record-breaking effort, they admit the grueling journey will be far from easy.