UKZN team return with the revolutionary Apalis
UKZN’s solar car will impress visitors at the 2015 KZN Industrial Technology Exhibition (Kite).
This year visitors will get to see the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s (UKZN) revolutionary solar car, Apalis.
Vincent van Erk, senior tutor in UKZN’s mechanical engineering department, said that, as a leading university, it is a great opportunity for them to feature Apalis at Kite.
“It gives us the chance to showcase our ability to produce world-class research projects whereby we look into green energy solutions as an alternative to the current trend of fossil fuel-powered vehicles,” explained Van Erk.
He said it provided a fantastic platform to showcase the technological talents of its mechanical engineering students.
The car was built by 16 team members from UKZN’s mechanical engineering department — including four lecturers, four postgraduate and eight undergraduate students.
The UKZN Solar Car Project, which started in 2001, was a six-year project, the end result of which was a car named Wildebeest. Unfortunately, through a lack of funding, the car was never able to compete and was benched in 2007.
In 2012 a new group of UKZN staff members, Kirsty Veale and Clinton Bemont, built on the lessons learnt during the production of Wildebeest, and developed a new solar car named Apalis.
The sleekly designed Apalis, which still holds all the South African records for the Challenger Class, was named after a small bird found in KwaZulu-Natal. Visitors to Kite 2015 will get the opportunity to view this impressive vehicle.
UKZN has since developed another solar car, The Hulamin — iKlwa, which took part in the 2014 Sasol Solar Challenge, winning the South African competition and setting distance records for the Olimpia Class. The team’s largest industrial sponsor, Hulamin, has pledged funds to allow the team to take part in the 2015 World Solar Challenge.
This will be the first year that an African team have ever taken part. The Hulamin — iKlwa will be en route to the World Solar Challenge in Australia.
The previous instalment of Kite saw more than 5 000 visitors from South Africa’s industrial technology sector, including senior decisionmakers, directors, managers, owners, contractors, engineers, regional government personnel, municipalities and planners. — WR. • The biannual event takes place at the Durban Exhibition Centre from June 9 to 12. Pre-register at www.kznindustrial.co.za for free entry.
It gives us the chance to showcase our ability to produce world-class research projects whereby we look into green energy solutions as an alternative to the current trend of fossil fuel powered vehicles