As the first full-time Programme Director of CUER it is my job to oversee the entire project and also set a precedent for future full-time team members. I am involved in all aspects of the project but my main responsibility is to work on the long-term development of the team while also ensuring the day-to-day success. I particularly enjoy this role as it gives the chance to scope out opportunities for the team and guide the direction for the future. I am also very proud and privileged to work alongside such driven students with the guidance of many experienced mentors.
Cambridge University Eco Racing (CUER) is a 60 strong student organisation that designs, build and races solar powered vehicles. We are a not-for-profit organisation that is mainly funded through corporate sponsorship and private support. Since our founding in 2007, we have been the UK’s number one for solar vehicle development.
We race in the World Solar Challenge, the world’s foremost solar endurance race, held in Australia. Our racing cars showcase cutting-edge sustainable engineering and demonstrate the incredible potential of electric vehicle technologies. By designing a car to run on solar power alone, we are driving the step changes in vehicle efficiency and new technologies for a low-carbon future.
Our team mission is to inspire as well as innovate. This leads us to undertake many outreach programs, both nationally and internationally. We have recently done outreach in Hong Kong, on the Isle of Wight and at Ardingly College as well as within Cambridgeshire. We also participate in many public events such as the Gadget Show and a High Performance event at the London Science Museum to educate and showcase the possibilities of solar energy.
Current Key Team Members
As Chief Aerodynamic Engineer, I am responsible for the aerodynamic performance of the vehicle. This is particularly important in Resolution concept vehicles as it defines the shape of the car. I am really enjoying being able to approach this cycle with the prior experience of a World Solar Challenge. It gives me great insight in to how we can improve our design for the next generation of CUER solar vehicles.
As Business Manager, I lead a small team of students who work to secure sponsorship deals to support CUER - either through building long-term relationships with our current sponsors, or through approaching potential sponsors. Our primary goal is to ensure that the technical teams have all the materials, equipment and support they need to build our vehicle.
I am the Internal Events Officer which makes me responsible for organising the team's logistics. The best thing is then seeing it come together in Australia. I am really looking forward to generating more interest in the team's activities, improving our operating efficiency, and optimising our strategies in all phases of development so we can compete to win!
I am the Health and Safety Officer for the team. Although I have not been on the team for long, the best thing about it so far is that everyone is so friendly, creating a positive working environment. I am most looking forward to getting to know those in the team that I don't usually get to work with at whole team events such as the Annual Dinner.
I am the Project Leader for the Solar Development innovation project. The best thing about being part of the team is working with such enthusiastic and lovely people on a really cool project. Also it was great being one of very few people that could drive in EVOLUTION (the 2015 car), because I'm small enough - which meant I could drive in it quite a lot during testing in Australia, and it is truly a fun experience to drive a solar powered car! Being small is great. I look forward to working with the team in the future and seeing it become more of a threat to the big players in the World Solar Challenge in 2017.
I am the Project Leader for the Battery Management System (BMS) Innovation Project. What I really love about being part of the team is the number of different things that I've learnt and improved; not only technical skills like electronics design and soldering, but also transferable skills like communication and leadership.
Core Team 2014-15
Summer Design Team 2014
The Summer Design Team was established as a biennial group who work over the summer to kickstart the beginning of each race cycle, by developing a concept for the next generation of our car for the new team to continue work in the following Michaelmas term.Team
2012 - 2013
In June 2012, Mark stepped down as Team Manager and was succeeded by Keno Mario-Ghae. The following week however, whilst the handover was on-going, the regulations for the 2013 World Solar Challenge were released requiring 4 wheels, better driver visibility and increasingly designed-in safety features such as driver headspace. These effectively outlawed the solar bike concept. The team however, went back to the drawing board and began exploring ways to take advantage of opportunities in the new regulations. The first ideas session produced 20 different concepts which were quickly narrowed down to about 4.
Over the summer of 2012, many team members had internships during the day in different parts of the country and convened frequently by Skype sharing ideas, sketches, calculation and simulations. Iterating day by day until narrowing down on the concept that became Resolution. Resolution has an aerodynamic tear drop shop combined with a large transparent canopy at the rear under which, an innovative solar tracking plate follows the sun as it moved across the sky, increasing the overall energy input. Resolution benefitted from much of the aerodynamic learning from the solar bike concept; the ability to operate at a radically different operating point. Resolution’s philosophy was to decouple the aerodynamic and solar performance, avoiding the compromise that is often made between the two.
Resolution’s 2013 entry was launched by Teena Gade at the London Science Museum with guests including Sir Paul Judge. A few days before Scrutineering, whilst testing at motorway speeds on a public road in Australia, the team had an accident in which Resolution over onto its side, slid off the road and down an embankment. The driver was in unhurt. Though much effort was made to fix the car, it was deemed unsafe without sufficient time to investigate fully and Keno withdrew the team from the race. Subsystems such as tracking and solar concentrators were tested independently to gain knowledge for future teams, but Resolution only drove in the starting ceremony and final parade.
2011 - 2012
Following the World Solar Challenge in 2011, Emil stepped down as Team Manager and was succeeded by Mark Nicholson who would lead the first half of what would become the team’s most audacious race cycle. Supported by the Advisory Board and inspired by high performance recumbent bikes Mark led the 2013 race cycle team towards a radically different design philosophy; small, lightweight and aerodynamically efficient design. The team worked in secret on a solar powered motorbike, codenamed Christine, of which they built and tested an early prototype electric bike with stabilisers up to 30 mph. Strategic partners and sponsors were brought on board during this cycle to help with the effort including the National Composites Centre.
2009 - 2011
Following the World Solar Challenge 2009, Anthony stepped down as Team Manager and was succeeded by Pip Walters who lead the first half of a two year development. Over the next two years, the team continued redesigning and refining Endeavour, resulting in a car with much improved aerodynamic properties and more reliable batteries dubbed Endeavour Mk 2. 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 2011 World Solar Challenge led by Emil Hewage. There, after one of the toughest races on record due to a combination of thunderstorms and bush fires, they finished 25th out of 37 teams.
2008 - 2009
Affinity was designed and constructed in early 2008, as a prototype vehicle to learn about solar systems and vehicle development. She was also used as a display and outreach vehicle, inspiring students and grown-ups alike across the UK. Affinity was endorsed by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency to legally drive on UK roads, and became the first solar-powered vehicle to qualify. In June 2008, as part of our “End to End” event, Affinity became the first solar-powered car to drive legally on UK roads, driving over 830 miles from Land's End to John O'Groats to raise awareness of sustainable energy. During the event, we ran outreach events at schools and town centres across the UK. To date Affinity remains the only solar vehicle to have driven legally on the UK roads.
In July 2008, following the successful “End to End” tour, Martin stepped down as Team Manager and was succeeded by Anthony Law. Work began on the second generation CUER vehicle, Endeavour, led Anthony Law with Martin taking up a position on the team’s Advisory Board, a position which he still serves today. 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 solar marathon across Australia from Darwin to Adelaide. Endeavour's 2009 entry was launched by Jenson Button at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. The 2009 Team came 14th, of 26 competitors. Our highest finish to at the World Solar Challenge to date, though a battery failure severely hindered their chances of competing effectively.
2007 - 2008
The team was founded in 2007 by Martin McBrien. Whilst studying as an exchange scholar at MIT, he was inspired by their Solar Electric Vehicle Team and dreamt that one day Cambridge would be able to win the World Solar Challenge. On returning to Cambridge, he assembled and led a team of ambitious students and supporters and began developing our first vehicle, Affinity.