Competition for the 2009 edition of the World Solar Challenge is shaping up to be somewhat formidable as the Cambridge University Eco Racing (CUER) team reveals the craft they're bringing to the party in Australia this October. Although its "Bethany" nickname may lack the cache that the MIT entrant, "Eleanor," carries, its abilities should not be underestimated. Combining a 98 per cent efficient in-wheel motor with 6m2 of the highest efficiency silicon solar cells in an aerodynamic carbon fiber package, it can cruise at 60 mph using the same amount of power as a hand-held hairdryer, about 1500 watts.
The vehicle's drivers will spend a lot of time this summer training for the event, though they will mostly only need to be able to endure brutal heat and steer during their 4 hour shifts behind the wheel. Bethany has a cruise control mind of her own and will adjust her speed according to road conditions and weather forecasts. With the official launch scheduled for July, the car is already undergoing assembly. The official press release awaits you after the break.