Solar-powered car in US challenge

A group of students from Durham University is heading for Texas to take part in the challenge of a lifetime, using a solar-powered car to race across the country.

The Durham University Solar Car (DUSC) is the UK's only entry in this year's North American Solar Challenge which will see 24 custom-built electric vehicles race the 2,400 miles from Dallas to Calgary in Canada.

The DUSC has taken 100 engineering students and staff four years to design. It is a single-seater and has an average speed of 45mph. A team of nine Durham University students and alumni will accompany the car to America, where two drivers will take it in turns to complete sections of the race.

The team leader, third-year engineering student Ben Derrick, said the event represented a "fantastic opportunity" for students to get involved with a cutting-edge practical project. "It is a project of real significance in today's environmentally aware society," he added.

Once the team returns from the US event, which takes place from July 13 to 22, the car will then be further developed to compete in the World Solar Challenge held in Australia in 2009 and other events.

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