The solar powered car – which is being hand built by a Welsh team headed by  Cardiff university lecturer Graham Sparey- Taylor - is set to be one of only two vehicles from the UK to take part in the 1,860 mile long Panasonic World Solar Challenge in Australia.

In this 20th anniversary event fifty cars from all over the globe – powered purely by sunlight - will drive across Australia, from Darwin to Adelaide, with their progress  tracked by the world’s media.

The Welsh car has been named Gwawr – which translates as Dawn in English -  and will carry the Welsh flag and promote Welsh automotive expertise as well as the Assembly Government’s commitment to sustainable development.

One of Graham’s team drivers in the race will be first year medical engineering student Bethany Keenan – from Cwmbran – who will be an ambassador and role model to encourage more women to take up engineering and the sciences as careers.

In driving mode Gwawr will measure 2.5 metres in length and 1.4 metres wide  - but when kitted out with the solar cell wing it will actually be 5 metres long.

The made-in-Wales project has been supported by the Accelerate Clusters to illustrate that the knowledge, expertise, technologies and components are all available in Wales.

After the race the intention is to exhibit the solar car in Cardiff’s Techniquest  centre to stimulate interest in alternative technologies and power and then Graham hopes to register it for road use.



GWAWR solar powered car Cymru Wales


GWAWR Solar Car for Australian WSC October 2007



June 20, 2007


The first pan-Wales automotive Accelerate Clusters conference and exhibition brought together examples of some of the most novel concepts in vehicle design and green alternative fuel technology from Wales.

Three of the key projects under development -  a solar powered car, a multi-hybrid electric bus with hydrogen fuel cell powered unit and the Naro car, a  two seater commuter car with the banking action of a motorcycle  –  are flagship operations supported by the Welsh Assembly Government’s Clusters programme.

The Accelerate Clusters programme is designed to drive forward and develop the automotive sector in Wales by focusing on emerging technologies and niche market opportunities to meet the sustainable transport agenda

Dr Brian Gibbons, Minister for the Economy and Transport, said the Welsh Assembly Government was working alongside Westminster and the administrations in Scotland and Northern Ireland to take forward sustainable development in the UK and internationally.



Deputy first minister Leuan Wyn Jones Cymru Welsh Assembly Government


Deputy Minister - Leuan Wyn Jones

He said:


One aim of the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO), is to reduce carbon emissions from the transport sector by 2-3%, and 5% of all road-vehicle fuel should be from sustainable renewable sources by 2010.  

As a part of this strategy, the Assembly Government is already looking at the shape of the automotive industry and the shift to an environmentally-conscious operation in Wales.

Through the Accelerate Clusters network we are exploring our environmental responsibilities and working with industry to meet the objectives set out in the RTFO.





Bethany Keenan driver Cymru solar car GWAWR


Bethany Keenan



Student and motor sport fan Bethany Keenan will undertake the drive of her life across Australia this autumn in a solar powered car.


Bethany, who is studying at Cardiff University, will be co-driving the only Welsh entrant in the Panasonic World Solar Challenge.


The 19-year-old will share the car called Gwawr, which translates as Dawn in English, with electronics lecturer Graham Sparey-Taylor in the 1,860 miles event across the blazing heart of the country from Darwin on the north coast to Adelaide in the south of Australia between 21-28 October.


They have been training and preparing for the event for months and Gwawr is undergoing tests before it is shipped to Australia shortly before the event, where it will compete with 49 other solar powered cars from around the world on the 20th anniversary running of the event.

Designed and built by an academic and engineering team led by Graham, the car uses a lightweight space-frame chassis covered by a five-metre long array of solar panels which will convert the sun's rays into electricity for the advanced batteries and traction motors.


He wants to test the science of the project but plans after the event to show the car and then convert it to more traditional electric power to augment the solar cells and to actually register it for road use.


Bethany said, "When Graham told me he wanted to build Gwawr and race it across Australia I immediately jumped at the chance to share the driving. "I have never gone to Australia before, raced before or driven anything like it. It is all going to be so exciting and after all the preparation I cannot wait."


The British summer has not prepared the team well for what they will have to do in Australia and the Gwawr project team will be travelling out some weeks before the event to acclimatise themselves to conditions and make sure the car is precisely set up for the world's most arduous sustainable transport marathon.


Bethany, an F1 fan, is brushing up on her driving skills with a rally driving course and hopes to gain her first competition licence before she goes to Australia.


First run in 1987 the event will pit the cars and crews against some of the most inhospitable conditions in the world with daytime temperatures averaging over 30Deg C and it has attracted teams from car makers as well as individuals who compete on equal terms. It is now run by the South Australian Tourism Commission with sponsorship from Panasonic.


GWAWR solar car under development wing side view


GWAWR solar car under development



National Eisteddfod 8-9 August 2007


Gwawr has been built to demonstrate that a solar powered car may be built entirely from technology, resource or information sourced from within Wales. Gwawr has been built from a diverse array of components including materials from the aerospace industry along with recycled parts where possible to develop the theme of sustainable technology. Gwawr's philosophy is to demonstrate that electric and hybrid technology is not an environmentalists dream of the future, but can be utilised to make a change now, and has therefore been produced from 'off-the-shelf' components. 


The batteries have kindly been supplied by Yuasa (Wales) and the solar cells have been sourced from GB-Sol. To advise on suspension systems the team turned to MoJo in Risca and were provided with the MRX Airshocks. Whilst the car may not be the most advanced within the field, it is intended that the car will be a viable on return from Australia, as the solar clip is completely detachable to reveal a single seater commuting vehicle. 


The team consists of members from many walks of life from University lecturers to government officials, students, parents and dancers. The only necessary requirements being to have a passion for bringing a healthy change to our environment. They regularly meet in the O'Briens coffee store.


Gwawr is supported by the Welsh Assembly Government's Accelerate Cluster Programme, which has been designed to drive forward and develop the automotive sector in Wales by focusing on emerging technologies and niche market opportunities to meet the sustainable transport agenda. For guidance and support the team has turned to the Welsh Automotive Forum and the wealth of industrial experience available.


It is envisaged that the entry of Gwawr into the Panasonic Solar Challenge will promote the interest of the Welsh nation in sustainable technologies.




Solar car wing and chassis front view Cymru GWAWR




For further information contact

Bethany Keenan

Team Manager

Graham Sparey-Taylor

Web Master

Rebecca Sparey-Taylor





Welsh supply chain companies with connections to Electric and Hybrid technologies and supporters of Solar Car Wales.

  Yuasa Batteries



   Llandow Race Circuit


www Web Whales design  Web Whales Internet Design


O'briens gourmet coffe handcut sandwich O'Briens Sandwiches


Electronica products leading technology  Electronica Products UK


Atomic Zombie Extreme Machines


John Squire Web Design   johnsquire53




Llywodraeth Cynulliad Cymru Welsh Assembly Government


Llywodraeth Cynulliad Cymru Welsh Assembly Government










Aristotle Uni of Thessaloniki, Helios


Faculty of Engineering

Arizona Solar Racing Team - USA

Arizona Solar Racing Team

Auburn University

Sol of Auburn

Sol of Auburn

Aurora Team, Australia


Aurora Vehicle Association

Bochum Solar Car Team

Das SolarCar der Fachhochschule

California Poly S University

SLO Burn  Sidewinder

San Luis Obispo

Cambridge University

Eco Racing Team

Clarkson Uni Solar Car Team, USA

The Solar Knights

Delft University - Holland

NUNA I & II 2003

Dell Winston School

The Hunter

Solar Car Challenge

Desert Rose, Northern Territory Uni


Drexel SunDragon Home Page

École de technologie supérieure Quebec

Eclipse V (5)

Éclipse Vehicular Solaire 

École Polytechnique de Montréal


Eko-Auto  Poland


Electron Analytic Corporation

Dark Horse

EAC Skunkworks

George Washington University

George Washington Uni Solar Car

Georgia Institute of Technology

Solar Jackets

Solar Jackets

Heliodet, Germany


Heliodet, Solar Car Team

Helios - Lille, France

Hélios IV

Hautes Etudes d'Ingénieur

Honda Car Company


Illinois State University

Surya, Ratha, Mercury

Illinois State University Team

Iowa State University


Team PrISUm

Jonasun  Japan


Solar Car Paviion

Kansas State University


Solar Car Racing Team

Los Altos Academy of Engineering

Los Altos Solar Car Team

Massachusetts Institute of Technology



McGill University Monteal, Canada


Team iSun

McMaster University


McMaster Uni Solar Car Project

Messiah College Grantham, Penns

Genesis II

Genesis II Solar Racing Team

Michigan State University


Solar Racing Team

Michigan Technological University

Solar Car Team

Minnesota S Uni-Mankato/Winona S Uni

Minnesota Solar Car Team

North Dakota State University

The Double Deuce

Sunsetters - Solar Race Team

Northwestern University


Northwestern University

Nuon Solar Team, Netherlands

Nuon 3

Het Nuon Solar Team

Osaka Sangyo University, Japan

OSU model S

Solar Car Team

Prairie View A&M University


Sun Panthers

Principia College

RA 6

Principia College Solar Car Team

Purdue University


Purdue University Solar Racing

Queen's University Canada

Radiance  Gemini

Queen's Solar Vehicle Team

Red River College 

Red River Raycer

Red River College Solar Car Team

Rice University

Rice University

Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

Rose-Hulman Solar Car Team

Southern Illinois Uni Edwardsville

Cougar Cruiser

Southern Illinois University

South Bank University, UK

Mad Dog

South Bank Mad Dog Team

South Dakota School Mines & Tech

Solar Motion

South Dakota Solar Motion Team

Southern Taiwan University Tech

Southern Taiwan Solar Team

Stanford University


Stanford Solar Car Project

Tamagawa University - Japan

Tamagawa Solar Challenge Project

Team Futura, Italy


Team Futura

Team SunLake - Japan

Phaethon model

Team SunLake TOYOBO

Texas A&M University

Columbia Sunraycer

Texas A&M Motorsports Team

The Power of One  - Toronto


The Xof1 solar car team

Tufts University


Nerd Girls

University of Alberta

University of Alberta Team

University of Arizona


Solar Racing Team

University of Calgary


UC Calgary Solar Car Team

University of California-Berkeley


California Calsol Team

University of Kansas

Solution, CATalyst

KSU Solar Car Racing Team

University of Kentucky

Gato del Sol II

Solar Car Team

University of Massachusetts 

Spirit of Mass 413

Lowell Solar Racing Team

University of Michigan


University of Michigan

University of Minnesota

Borealis III

U of M Solar Vehicle Project

University of Missouri Columbia

Suntiger VI

The Mizzou Solar Car Project

University of Missouri Rolla

Solar Miner V

Solar Minor Car Team 

University of North Dakota

Subzero 3

Team SubZero

University of Ontario Institute of Tech

UOI Solar Vehicle Team

Uni of New South Wales SCR Team

UNSW Sunswift III

New South Wales SCR Team

University of Patras, Hermes

Solar Car Team

University of Pennsylvania


Penn Solar Racing

University of Queensland


Queensland Solar Team

University of South Australia


SA Solar Car Consortium

University of Texas at Austin

Solar Steer

Solar Vehicles Team

University of Texas at El Paso



University of Toronto

Blue Sky

Blue Sky Solar Racing

University of Toulouse


Heliotrope Solar Car Team

University of Utah 


Vehicle Design Team Utah

University of Virginia


UVa Solar Car Team

University of Waterloo

Midnight Sun VIII

Midnight Sun Solar Race Team

University of Western Ontario


Sunstang USP Solar Car Team

USP Solar Car Team

USP Solar Car Team

Western Michigan University

Sunseeker 05

W Michigan Solar Car Team

Yale University

The John Lee

Team Lux











American Solar Challenge

American Tour de Sol

American World Solar Challenge - Formula Sun          

Australian World Solar Challenge

Canadian Solar Discovery Challenge

Dream Cup Solar Car Race Suzuka 2003 - Japan

Japanese World Solar Car Rallye

London 2 Brighton L2B car run

North American Solar Challenge

Phaethon 2004

Solar Express - Solar Bike Race


SunRace 2003 - Australia

World Solar Car Rally - Japan

World Solar Rallye - Japan




A taste for adventure capitalists

Solar Cola - a healthier alternative.




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