Electric vehicles (EVs) are all the rage of late with Jaguar, Audi and Mercedes Benz all showing off soon to be released or concept EVs recently.

Next week, however, the roads of South Africa will play host to homemade electric vehicles of a different sort in the 2018 Sasol Solar Challenge.

This year marks the 10th anniversary race which will see teams from around the world compete in a 30 000km race using only the power of the sun.

The starting line is in Pretoria with the finish located all the way down in Stellenbosch. The race starts on 22nd September and concludes on 29th September.

One of the teams taking part in the race is the Tshwane University of Technology with its car – SunChaser 3.

Building a car that uses solar panels is impressive but the TUT team has decided that it will be building most of the required components itself.

Team leader Johannes de Vries says that the team has a great understanding of the requirements of the race and that experiences and experiences from past races have equipped it with the necessary skills.

“This year is definitely different, because of the more demanding regulations in terms of the solar panel size reduction. There is more focus on reducing the weight of the car since there is less energy available to move the car. It will be smaller in size and more aerodynamic compared to the previous car. We also experienced that the more we work on the design we gain better clarity and understanding of how to improve the design. I am confident that we are well resourced for this year’s race, and believe that we can best challenge the other teams,” de Vries explains.

One of the team’s sponsors – RS Components – has wish the team all the best in the race.

“We’re extremely proud of the calibre of the engineers and technicians that are being developed in South Africa – our role is to give them access to the tools, components and resources they require to design, build and maintain the innovations of tomorrow. We wish the TUT team all the best as they compete in the Sasol Solar Car 2018 Challenge,” managing director of RS Components in Sub-Saharan Africa, Brian Andrew, said in a statement.

You can follow the race over on the Sasol Solar Challenge accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube or you could watch out for the racers when they arrive in your town using the schedule below.

 Date
 Start (City)
End (City)
Road Distance
Loop Distance (Optional)
Sat, 22ndSep 
Menlyn Maine
Kroonstad
267.2km
72.9km
Sun, 23thSep 
Kroonstad
Bloemfontein
242.6km
73.7km
Mon, 24thSep 
Bloemfontein
Gariep Dam
233km
63.8km
Tue, 25thSep 
Gariep Dam
Graaff-Reinet
 
304.4km
47.2km
Wed, 26thSep 
Graaff-Reinet
Port-Elizabeth
264km
65.7km
Thur, 27thSep 
Port-Elizabeth
Sedgefield
304.3km
34km
Fri, 28thSep 
Sedgefield
Swellendam
247.2km
28.6km
Sat, 29thSep 
Swellendam
Stellenbosch
220.2km
65.4km