Cambridge University Eco Racing

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Cambridge University Eco-Racing logo

Cambridge University Eco Racing (CUER) is the UK's leading solar car racing team. The team of 60 Cambridge students design, build and race solar powered vehicles. Founded in 2007, its first prototype vehicle, Affinity became the first solar-powered car to drive legally on UK roads. The team competes in the biennial World Solar Challenge. CUER's race vehicle for the 2013 race, 'Resolution', is known for its innovative tracking plate design, and unusual teardrop shape.


Cambridge University Eco Racing is based in the University's Department of Engineering and comprises around 80 undergraduate members from several departments of Cambridge University. As well as having a large student body, the team is strongly supported by a number of academic and industrial advisers, including Hermann Hauser and Tony Purnell.

The team was founded in 2007 by Martin McBrien, inspired by the solar car team at MIT. Its first vehicle, Affinity, was designed and constructed in early 2008 and was used as a prototype and display vehicle rather than for serious competition. In June 2008, Affinity was driven from Land's End to John O'Groats to raise awareness of sustainable energy.[1] As part of the End to End venture, it was endorsed by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency to legally drive on UK roads, and became the first such vehicle to qualify.[2] CUER runs outreach events at local schools and has been featured in a wide range of local, national and international media.[3]

In July 2008, work began on the second generation CUER vehicle, Endeavour. Following design work by a number of students in the Engineering Department, and with the support of the advisory board, the team competed in the 2009 World Solar Challenge, a 3000 km marathon across Australia. They came 14th, of 26 competitors, after a battery failure severely hindered their chances of competing effectively. Endeavour's 2009 entry was launched by Jenson Button at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.[4]

Over the next two years, they continued redesigning and refining Endeavour, resulting in a car with much improved aerodynamic properties and more reliable batteries. The team used CFD simulations to make minor tweaks to the canopy, and tested the car extensively at a local airfield, before heading out to the next World Solar Challenge in October 2011. There, after the hardest race on record due to a combination of thunderstorms and bush fires, they came 25th out of 37 teams.[5]

Since then, the team has been designing a radical new vehicle, Resolution, to compete in the WSC in 2013.


CUER has competed in both the World Solar Challenge 2009 and 2011, coming 14th and 25th respectively. In future, CUER hope to enter the North American Solar Challenge and the South African Solar Challenge but the current focus is on preparations for the 2013 World Solar Challenge. Historically, CUER had intended to compete in the Zero Rally Africa in January 2009; however, this contest was subsequently cancelled.[6]


Affinity at Land's End, 2008


Affinity is CUER's first vehicle, built as a prototype and based on a shape taken from MIT's Manta Elite solar car. Affinity became the UK's first road legal solar car, successfully driving from Land's End to John o'Groats as part of CUER's "End to End" tour in 2008.[7]

Dimensions (LWH) 5 × 2 x 1 m
Cruising speed 30 mph
Top speed 50 mph
Kerb weight 250 kg
Chassis Steel space frame
Solar array power 1 kW
Motor Efficiency 80%
CdA 0.19


The second generation vehicle, designed and built to compete in the World Solar Challenge. First entering the World Solar Challenge in 2009, the team lead by Anthony Law raced across the Outback of Australia marking the teams highest placed finish to date. Endeavour was modified and take to Australia again in 2011 by the team led by Emil Hewage.

Dimensions (LWH) 5 x 1.8 × 1 m
Cruising speed 45 mph
Top speed 70 mph
Kerb weight 230 kg
Chassis Aluminium space frame
Solar array power 1.2 kW
Motor efficiency 90%+
CdA 0.14


Designed and built in under 12 months, Resolution's innovative aerodynamic shape breaks away from the classic 'table top' design seen in most entrants to the World Solar Challenge.

Dimensions (LWH) 4.5 x 1.8 × 1 m
Cruising speed 55 mph
Top speed 88 mph
Kerb weight 120 kg
Chassis Carbon Fibre Monocoque
Motor efficiency 99%+

Conferences and sponsorship[edit]

CUER regularly attends industry conferences. They have been represented at the Raymond James’ 4th Annual European Investors North American Equities Conference, and the Exhibition of Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering at Hethel Engineering Centre and Marketforce’s ‘Renewables 2008’. CUER also exhibited in Cambridge at the ARM Partner Meeting, Cambridge Climate’s ‘Entrepreneurship for a Zero-Carbon Society’ conference and CIR’s ‘Solar Smart HEAT’ event.

Further afield, CUER exhibited amongst the Europe’s top 100 Cleantech companies at the Guardian/Library House Essential Cleantech conference, and presented at ‘Commercialising Photovoltaics’ organised by Renewables East.

CUER's major sponsors include Cambridge Precision, Jaguar Land Rover and Schlumberger. In the past, it has been sponsored by Hewlett Packard.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Cambridge University Eco Racing solar car drive across Britain". 11 June 2008. Retrieved 19 April 2011. 
  2. ^ Thomas, Vikki (17 June 2008). "First licensed solar vehicle". The Sun. 
  3. ^ Lucas, Paul (12 June 2008). "Sun shines on new green car concept". The Green Car Website. Retrieved 19 April 2011. 
  4. ^ "Goodwood Festival of Speed: Jenson Button unveils solar racer". The Daily Telegraph. 7 July 2012. Retrieved 20 September 2012. 
  5. ^ [1]
  6. ^ "Solar-powered races". The Engineer. 10 June 2008. 
  7. ^ "Manta Elite". MIT Solar Electric Vehicle Team. Retrieved 19 April 2011. 
  8. ^ "HP invests in the future of energy efficiency with Cambridge University Eco Racing team sponsorship". University of Cambridge. Retrieved 19 April 2011. 

External links[edit]