Nuna 3 was the first solar car with a cruise control system. The ideal speed determined by the car's strategy was directly sent to the cruise control. The driver only needed to steer to keep Nuna on the road.
Adapting to early races
The 2005 race was held in September instead of October or November as in previous years. To adapt to this change, the team positioned solar cells on the sides of the car to maximize exposure to the lower sun angle in early spring.
Designing for crosswinds
Nuna 3's design considered the crosswinds experienced during the race from Darwin to Adelaide. Wind speeds could reach up to 70 km/h, and the students optimized the car's aerodynamics in a wind tunnel.
The third wheel
One significant difference between Nuna and competitors is the position of the third wheel. In Nuna 3, the single wheel is at the back, while many other teams have it at the front, contributing to Nuna 3's stability.
A new strategy
Nuna 3 maintained a constant power output instead of speed. This led to varying speeds based on changing conditions, surprising competitors who sent spies to determine Nuna 3's speed during the race.
Nuna 3 is the fastest solar car ever. It set a world record with a finish time of 29 hours and 11 minutes and an average speed of 103 km/h in the World Solar Challenge. Unbeatable, this record still stands to this day.
Nuna 3 was so fast that the checkpoint wasn't ready when it arrived. The team had to wait for half an hour before continuing, even before the checkpoint was fully set up. Sometimes, they wanted to go even faster, but were limited by the speed limit on Australian public roads. For the third time in a row, the student team became world champions!
1st place— Bridgestone World Solar Challenge 2001
5m x 1.8m x 0.8m
9 m2 Gallium Arsenide
30 kg Li-polymer