This Phoenix looks more like a vehicle from a sci-fi movie than the mythological bird it was named after.


The Faculty of Engineering’s latest solar car rose to the occasion, however, when it spread its wings during the Sasol Solar Challenge to secure an overall fifth place.


The race started on 22 September in Pretoria and finished on 29 September in Stellenbosch after the team racked up 2 276,3 km.


The Phoenix was the second South African solar car to complete the race. The team ended close on the heels of the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) car that travelled 2 397 km.


The team put in a gutsy performance in difficult conditions and have every right to feel proud of their accomplishment.


The Phoenix continues to be part of the NWU’s quest to have the best solar car team in South Africa. Who knows, next time the Phoenix and her team of engineers and drivers might just rise from fifth position to finish first.


Taking solar power further than before


When it comes to solar-powered vehicles, distance is all-important. While speed matters too, what counts in this race is how far a vehicle can travel on its power source.


Dutch team Nuon won the 2018 Sasol Solar Challenge, completing 4 030,4 km. In second place was Japan’s Tokai team, who clocked 3 941,4 km.


The Sasol Solar Challenge is a biennial event. Teams from across the world design and build solar-powered vehicles to drive across South Africa in eight days. They follow a set route each day, and then complete additional loops with the power they have left.


Phoenix is the latest version in the NWU’s series of solar cars, following on Naledi, who was the star of the Solar Challenge show two years ago.




Follow the Phoenix on its long journey during this year’s Sasol Solar Challenge.


The car boasts a unique, light design with a centre of gravity that is closer to the front of the car. It also has a new suspension, a new steering unit, ground-breaking software designed to measure telemetry and a team brimming with enthusiasm.

Phoenix flies to fifth