When last we looked at an entry in the upcoming Zero Race it was the Swiss team’s Zerotracer electric motorcycle. Today we shift our attention to the Australian entry, which sees the number of wheels upped to three and the vehicle, in typically Australian fashion, given the moniker of “Trev.” And if you’ve got a little spare cash laying about then you can join Team Trev and drive the vehicle for a day during the race – you’ll even get a Team Trev polo shirt!

Design

The idea for Trev (short for Two-seater Renewable Energy Vehicle) was born back in 2003 when industrial design students at the University of South Australia were given the task of designing a low-mass, low-energy vehicle powered by renewable energy and designed specifically for city mobility. At the same time, engineering students started designing the low-mass structures and the major components of the car. The design was further refined in 2004.

The key features of the resultant design were:

  • it was light, weighing about 300kg (661 lbs)
  • three-wheeled design with tandem seating layout, to give good aerodynamics and good balance
  • a canopy similar to that found on sailplanes, giving an unimpeded view of the road
  • a single door, on the curb side of the car
  • single rear-wheel drive, to simplify the suspension and transmission
  • an electric motor, to give smooth quiet acceleration from 0-100km/h (62mph) in about 10 seconds
  • efficient tires, to minimize rolling resistance
  • a 45kg (99 lbs) lithium polymer battery, giving a range of over 100km (62 miles)
  • a tub chassis made from composite boards, formed by cutting, folding and gluing.
  • The car was then built in 2005, painted green and named Trev. Trev was further refined during 2006, and in 2007 was driven 3,000km (1,864 miles) from Darwin to Adelaide in the demonstration class of the World Solar Challenge. Cruising speed was 80-90 km/h (50-56 mph), range was up to 120 km (74.5 miles), and recharge time was one hour.

    Although Trev’s key design concepts didn’t change, the team needed to make a few adjustments to make Trev ready for the Zero Race. A larger battery needed to be placed beneath the floor to increase Trev’s range to 250km (155 miles), the brakes and suspension needed to be improved and the rear seat needed to be made more comfortable.

    Powered by the wind

    It is a Zero Race requirement that each team must produce its own electricity from renewable sources that will be fed into the grid system in the team’s home country to offset the electricity it will use during the race. To comply with this Team Trev have joined with TrustPower, a New Zealand based utility that has donated energy sourced from its 98.7MW Snowtown Wind Farm in South Australia.

    With Trev requiring approximately 70 Wh/km, a 30,000km trip will consume approximately 2,100kWh (2.1MWh) of energy. So the amount of energy required to drive Trev around the world is generated by one of the wind farm's 2.1MW wind turbines spinning at full power in just one hour.

    Join Team Trev

    Even though it has managed to secure sponsorship from Google Australia and Galaxy Resourses, Team Trev is still seeking additional sponsorship to fund its Zero Race entry. To this end it is offering a small group of people the chance to drive Trev during the race. For AUD2,500/GBP1,400/EUR1,700/US$2,200 you can become a Benefactor and pick your preferred day to get behind the wheel.

    A typical race day would consist of a media event after breakfast, followed by up to 250km (155 miles) of driving in the morning. Another media event would take place after lunch followed up to 250km of further driving, with the day finishing off with an event to promote the Zero Race ideals.

    So if you fancy yourself as skilled behind the wheel – not to mention in front of the cameras – you can find contact details at the Team Rev website. But you won’t want to dawdle; the starting flag drops on the Zero Race on August 15.