Ardingly Solar: Challenging perceptions

Ardingly Solar

The Ardingly Solar project students drive their electric vehicle from John O’Groats to Hayward Heath promoting awareness of environmental challenges and raising funds for industry charity Ben

The world needs new approaches to transportation and mobility as the environment takes centre stage, not just in the automotive industry but in every walk of life. It’s why more money is being invested in new powertrain technologies, infrastructure and the skills needed to maintain them. And it’s a challenge that the next generation is determined to meet.

Bringing new, fresh thinking to the age-old problem of vehicle pollution, Ardingly Solar is a collaborative project between two science renowned schools – Ardingly College and Ifield Community College – that has developed a solar powered vehicle. And it’s now travelled the length of the country to highlight the challenges we face and the solutions that could help us change direction.

The mammoth road trip, covering over 800km from John O’Groats to Haywards Heath took the team nine days to complete taking in stops including Inverness, Aberdeen, Edinburgh Durham, York, Rugby, Gaydon, and a pitstop at the IMI HQ along the way.

The car at the centre of the challenge is ‘The Basking Beasty’, a vehicle that proves that solar power can be harnessed and used to provide mobility.

Tom Porter from Ifield Community College and one of the students involved in the project explained it’s a really important venture: “As a pupil this trip is important to me as I get to have a voice to show what can be done in solar energy transport. It's exciting to know we are helping to build a better future”.

The IMI supported the Solar Car Challenge every step of the way, aware of the importance of developing new approaches to our mobility needs.

Steve Scofield, Head of Business Development at the IMI explained: “There is no question that we need the greatest minds working on the best ideas to tackle the global pollution challenges and the Ardingly Ifield Solar team are playing no small part in using their imagination and ingenuity to show that solar power could be part of the answer. It’s hugely exciting to be involved in this latest project from the team and we really hope that by touring the UK their message about using solar power will reach a wider audience.”

But it doesn’t stop there. The project had another target in its sights too; raising money for industry charity Ben.

The organisation provides an enormous amount of resources and support for those in the automotive industry, and over the past 16 months has seen a deluge in people seeking help.

To help the team meet their lofty fundraising target, even though the solar tour is over the team is heading to the British Motor Show and later in the year will take part in the London-Brighton EV Rally. It’s an incredibly worthy cause and donations really do make a difference.

  • £100 enables Ben to provide overnight emergency accommodation to those who find themselves homeless
  • £50 allows us to organise a counselling session for those who need someone to turn to
  • £40 pays for a specialist mental health assessment
  • £20 helps Ben keep an elderly person warm during the winter

If you can, simply donate by heading to the Ben JustGiving page or you can text to donate. Text SOLAR and the amount that you’d like to donate next to it to 70450. Texts cost £3 plus one standard network rate message.