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Durham University chasing the sun with Bridgestone

Bridgestone is driving Durham University towards a sun-chasing adventure in Australia, after developing custom made tyres for its World Solar Challenge.

Students have designed a three-wheeled asymmetrical catamaran-style car for the 3,000km journey from 22nd-29th October, and Bridgestone will kit their creation in its specially designed Enliten tyres.

The ‘challenger class’ car has been two years in development, with months of remote study and digital development taking place to firstly overcome the challenges of the global pandemic and eventually a sustainable vehicle with a cruising consumption of 1kWh.

Bridgestone’s Enliten tyre technology platform is seen as a crucial feature of the car, with its innovative approach to tyre development helping it go further. The combination of multiple cutting-edge technologies provides maximum safety and outstanding tyre performance for students, while improving the sustainability characteristics of the tyre.

Additionally, Enliten makes the Bridgestone tyre portfolio more adaptable to the latest mobility evolution, making all Bridgestone tyres fully EV-ready.

Durham University’s creation features a 5kWh battery pack – enough to drive for 350km on a single charge – asymmetrical double wishbone suspension to achieve the ideal steering geometry and a micro-pyramid surface on the solar array to improve its efficiency.

Carbon fibre lightweight wheels have replaced previous aluminium versions, while an induction cooling feature helps regulate temperatures the long drive across Australia.

“We are proud to support the World Solar Challenge, and to be a part of the effort to drive innovation and sustainability in the transportation sector,” said Andrea Manenti, vice president, Bridgestone North.

“Through our sponsorship and support of Durham University Solar Car, we aim to inspire and support the next generation of engineers and leaders, who will play a crucial role in shaping the future of sustainable mobility.”