THE PROJECT

THE DRIVE AROUND AUSTRALIA

Charge Around Australia is a partnership between the UK company Charging Around Britain Ltd and the University of Newcastle, Australia. The project is a challenge to drive an electric vehicle, powered by solar energy, some 9,380 miles (15,097km) around the entire coastline of Australia.

On the journey, we will use portable printed solar cell panels to enable off-grid electric car charging. This innovative solar technology will enable us to harvest free energy from the sun in wilderness stretches along the route where established charging stations are unavailable. 

The technology, known as organic photovoltaics (OPV), is integral to the lightweight solar cells panels that have been developed by Professor Paul Dastoor and his pioneering OPV team at the University of Newcastle’s Centre for Organic Electronics.

The project will demonstrate the capability of the portable solar panels to function successfully on this challenging trip and consequently help to dispel the ‘range anxiety’ currently associated with long-distance journeys in electric vehicles.

We will be doing much more than just driving. Our project is also designed to educate and support people and organisations, including schools. We aim to shed light on the fact that the future of sustainable power generation for transport and our wider energy requirements is going to be with new technology.

Our project will include challenges, experiments, interviews, research and a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) Roadshow.

The STEM Roadshow will visit remote, rural and regional schools and communities across six Australian states and territories. Students will interact with research scientists who can inspire them by explaining the science behind solar technology and the Charge Around Australia project – and show them how to build their own plastic solar cells using non-toxic, risk-free materials.

In addition to the electric car that we drive around Australia on the journey, we will also use a support vehicle. The latter will double up as the team’s mobile home and act as a field station in which we can run experiments and gather data.

THE PROPOSED ROUTE

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