Media Room

Keeping you updated and informed

Home » Media » News Releases

Singapore Polytechnic to represent Singapore at the 2013 World Solar Challenge


Singapore, 23 August 2013Singapore Polytechnic (SP) will be competing in the 2013 World Solar Challenge – a 3,000 km race over six days across the Australian Outback in October this year. This is considered the most challenging and competitive solar car race in the world

SP’s solar car ‘SunSPEC 3’ will be the sole Singaporean entry competing against 43 teams from renowned universities across 24 countries including the United States, Japan and the Netherlands.

To participate in the race, a multi-disciplinary group of SP staff and students from various engineering diplomas such as Energy Systems and Management and Mechanical Engineering was assembled to build a race-worthy solar car over the past 14 months. Each student was selected based on their technical knowledge, passion for engineering and ability to work efficiently as a team under pressure.

The team designed ‘SunSPEC 3’ as a four-wheeled vehicle for improved vehicle stability and enhanced driver safety. This design also meets the latest regulations of the World Solar Challenge which requires solar cars to adopt a conventional design based on the common car.

The end result is a solar car measuring 4.5m by 1.8m with a height of 1.1m that is able to attain a maximum speed of 100km/h while running on less energy than a typical hairdryer. This is made possible by having an aerodynamic design and an ultra-lightweight body made of Carbon Fibre Reinforced Polymer, with the entire solar car weighing just 200kg without a driver.

To capture enough sunlight to power the solar car, most of the exposed surface of SunSPEC 3 is covered with 516 pieces of high efficiency solar cells. These commercial energy efficient cells are able to absorb 23% of the sun’s rays – among the highest absorption rates for silicon solar cells in the world. The captured sunlight is then converted and distributed to the electric motors and to recharge a Lithium-ion battery pack. A high-tech battery management system monitors battery voltages and temperatures, ensuring safe operation. These unique features in the solar car will enable SunSPEC 3 to negotiate the challenging conditions of the race in the fastest possible time while using only a renewable source of energy.

Team manager of SunSPEC 3 and electrical engineering senior lecturer, Mr Steven Chew expressed his hopes for a cleaner and greener future resulting from technologies used in the solar car.  ‘By designing and building SunSPEC 3 in line with industry standards, the whole car or different components and systems within the car has the potential to be adapted for commercial purposes. For example, the battery management system can be integrated into a future smart home to manage its energy usage’.

SunSPEC 3 also allows students the opportunity to learn about advanced electrical systems, applied materials engineering and advanced manufacturing techniques. Learning to build a solar car also helps the students to develop a greater environmental conscience which might create a more sustainable automotive industry.

Student leader of the SunSPEC 3 team, Ang Bo Jia, a third year student from the Diploma in Mechanical Engineering said, “I never thought that I will get the chance to build something as cool as a solar car which might change the future of mobility as well as to enter it in a race across the Australian Outback. This is a unique experience which I will not get to learn in the classroom and I would like to thank SP and my lecturers for giving me this opportunity”.

This will be SP’s second participation at the World Solar Challenge since 1999. Last year, SP’s SunSPEC 2 fended off six other teams from the Asian region at the Shell Eco Marathon Asia to come in tops in the Prototype ‘Solar’ category.

SunSPEC 3 was flagged off at Science Centre Singapore as the first initiative under the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed today by SPand Science Centre Board (SCB).

A/Prof Lim Tit Meng, Chief Executive, Science Centre Singapore said, “We are really excited with the possibilities this partnership entails. Singapore Polytechnic offers a perfect platform to showcase the engineering masterpiece where the public can learn and interact with the team behind the solar car through talks and demonstrations. We can now illustrate what energy efficient cars can achieve. I wish success to the SP solar team and believe that they will keep the Singapore flag high at the 2013 World Solar Challenge.”


The SP team and solar car ‘SunSPEC 3’ that will represent Singapore in the 3,000km 2013 World Solar Challenge


MoU signing at solar car send-off ceremony

(Seated from left to right: Dr Ng Eng Hong, Director, School of Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering, Singapore Polytechnic, Mr Hee Joh Liang, Deputy Principal (Academic Planning), Singapore Polytechnic, Prof Lim Tit Meng, Chief Executive, Science Centre Singapore, Mr Clarence Sirisena, Deputy Chief Executive, Science Centre Singapore)

For more information:

Frank Chua

Corporate Communications Dept

Singapore Polytechnic

T: 6870 7043

M: 9771 7871



Marilyn Tan

Corporate Communications Dept

Singapore Polytechnic

T: 6772 1350

M: 9011 9931


About Singapore Polytechnic (

Established in 1954, Singapore Polytechnic (SP) is Singapore’s first polytechnic. It has 10 schools that offer 49 full-time diploma courses for close to 16,000 students. SP adopts a proven creative teaching and learning framework and offers students a holistic, authentic and industry-relevant curriculum, innovative and vibrant learning spaces, and enriching overseas programmes.  

The Polytechnic is committed to producing competent and versatile graduates (who are also imbued with sound values, so that they can be work ready, life ready and world-ready.  SP has more than 170,000 graduates and among them are successful entrepreneurs, top executives in multi-national and public-listed corporations, and well-known professionals across various industries and leaders in government.

SP is the first polytechnic to be awarded the President’s Award for the Environment in 2010 and the President's Social Service Award in 2011.

Follow SP on Facebook at or Twitter at


About Science Centre Singapore:

A non-formal educational institution and leading Science Centre in the region, the Science Centre houses 14 exhibition galleries with more than 1,000 exhibits, and another 30,000 sq metres of outdoor exhibition space showcasing the Waterworks exhibition, Ecogarden and Kinetic Garden. It also houses the Omni-Theatre — Singapore’s only dome-shaped, 5-storey high IMAX theatre. The Science Centre, Omni-Theatre and Snow City received 1.26 million visitors.        

For more information, please visit



Press Releases by Year