Solar Wheels (1998)
A new solar car that has a revolutionary motor inside one of its wheels.
[Music plays and text appears: sci files]
[Image changes to show a yellow solar car travelling along the road and the camera zooms in on the car with the text ‘AURORA’ across its’ front]
Narrator: This is a solar car… but not just any solar car…
[Camera zooms in on the wheel and then image shows the wheel being fitted to the car]
Most solar cars are burdened down with weight. But this car has overcome that problem with a lightweight electric motor that actually fits snugly inside one its wheels.
[Image changes to show Paul Gwan looking at a computer screen and then the camera zooms in on the diagrams on the screen]
When scientists from CSIRO were asked to be involved in the design of a drive motor for a new solar car, they came up with something totally different.
[Image changes to show a man constructing the motor for the solar car]
An axial flux motor with an aluminium structure that gives the lightest possible weight for the highest power output and efficiency. The motor is nearly half the weight of other motors which generate the same output.
[Image changes to show the solar car driving along the road and the camera zooms in on the text ‘Aurora’ on the front of the car]
Road tested, the car demonstrated that its single front wheel drive motor could pull it along at speeds of above 110 kilometres an hour. Scientists hope that the car of the future could run on these sunlight powered motors embedded in its’ wheels.
[Image changes to show the motor, the camera zooms in on a man joining wires together in the motor and then changes back to show the solar car travelling along on the road]
Paul Gwan: This motor is high torque, extremely efficient and lightweight
[Image changes to show Paul Gwan, CSIRO]
We are very pleased with its performance in the solar car and with some adaptations; this motor can be used for many other applications.
[Image changes back to show the motor and then changes back to the solar car travelling along the road and the camera zooms in on the text ‘Aurora’ on the front of the solar car]
Narrator: The motor magnets are made from a compound containing a rare-earth element, readily available in Australia, as is the aluminium used for the motor’s structure.
This means that when solar powered travel becomes a major form of transport, Australia will be well placed to be both a supplier to the world of the raw materials and of the technology itself.
[Text appears ‘sci files ©1999 CSIRO’]