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Green Car Revs Up
July 29, 2011   
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The Silesian Greenpower SG 2011, an electric car built and designed by students from the Silesian University of Technology in Gliwice, came in second at the Greenpower Corporate Challenge competition in Britain in early May.

The Greenpower Corporate Challenge is an annual race of “green” vehicles made of recyclable materials and powered by electric engines. It is held by the Greenpower organization, which promotes environmentally friendly technology. Unlike typical car races, the Greenpower Corporate Challenge is not about speed, as the objective is to make the highest number of laps on a 3.8-kilometer track in four hours and with limited power resources. The energy efficiency of the vehicles is a crucial factor because each battery replacement takes many precious seconds.

This year’s Greenpower Corporate Challenge was held at the famous Silverstone circuit in Britain which usually resounds with the roar of Formula One racing cars. A total of 39 light electric vehicles competed in this year’s race.

The Silesian University of Technology students’ second-place finish at the Silverstone circuit marked their second success in the Greenpower Corporate Challenge. Last year, the team came in sixth and also took home the Best Engineered Car Award. This year the Polish students again won the Best Engineered Car Award.

The car which the Silesian University of Technology team submitted to the Greenpower Corporate Challenge this year differed significantly from the one they entered last year. They have made many technological improvements to the older version.

With a more streamlined body and the center of mass located lower than before, the car was now more stable and had better aerodynamics.

Racing in their blood

Most teams competing in the Greenpower race come from high schools, universities and car companies in Britain. The idea for the Silesian University of Technology team to join the competition came from exchange student Krzysztof Slósarczyk. In 2009, he worked at the Jaguar Land Rover company in Britain, helping his employers prepare their car for the Greenpower Corporate Challenge. After he returned to Poland, Slósarczyk started coordinating the project at the Polish university and was soon joined by four other students. Their project resulted in the successful effort at last year’s Greenpower Corporate Challenge and so the team decided to take part again. This year’s car was designed and built by 14 students from the Faculty of Automatic Control, Electronics and Computer Science, the Faculty of Energy and Environmental Engineering, and the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering.

Four members of last year’s Silesian Greenpower team won prizes in a competition for the best dissertation dealing with the car industry in 2010, organized by Fiat and the Silesian University of Technology. The car from last year also received the Green Check 2011 award from the Province Environmental Protection and Water Management Fund in the southern Polish city of Katowice.
Ewa Dereń
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