Hong Kong Institute of Vocational Education students develop record-breaking solar car

Sophie 8

1st October 2023 – (Hong Kong) A team of engineering students from the Hong Kong Institute of Vocational Education (IVE) has developed an innovative solar-powered electric vehicle aimed at smashing records.

About 30 students and tutors are involved in the project, helping to take SOPHIE 8 from the drawing board to the open road.

Dubbed SOPHIE 8, the car was designed with a sleek modular structure and customised motor and electrical systems by graduates specialising in fields such as electrical engineering. Its carbon fibre shell makes the vehicle incredibly strong yet lightweight for optimal performance.

Rubber tyres that minimise rolling resistance and energy loss combined with a high-gain voltage booster help maximise efficiency from the vehicle’s solar panels according to team member Bell Cheng.

This dedication to eco-friendly innovation will be put to the ultimate test this month as IVE represents Hong Kong in the grueling World Solar Challenge in Australia. The biennial event challenges participants to traverse over 3,000km of remote Outback in 6 days, powered solely by the sun’s energy.

Over 40 international teams will showcase their cutting-edge designs across various classes. As the lone local entrant, SOPHIE 8’s success would raise Hong Kong’s profile as a global hub for green technology development.

The team has spent months rigorously testing and refining every component, undergoing stringent driver training simulations to ensure they are race-ready. Aircraft engineering graduate Cheuk Kin-kwan said the battery life and energy management prowess required present an immense challenge but one the committed students are prepared to face head-on through their studies.

IVE Deputy Director Lam Tze-shan praised such real-world experience applying classroom theory as enormously valuable for the next generation of sustainability-focused engineers. Events like this help nurture important technical and social skills, feeding innovation within vital industries undergoing revolution.

If SOPHIE 8 can rise to the Solar Challenge, it will demonstrate IVE’s ability to cultivate talented problem-solvers ready to spearhead Hong Kong’s low-carbon transition through passion and perseverance