Around the world for $400
'Team Trev' and their renewable energy
Image: UniSA

Trev, UniSA’s two-seater renewable energy vehicle, has powered across the finish line of a global zero emissions race that’s covered 16 different countries and 30,000km in 80 days of driving.

The Google-sponsored car arrived back at the United Nations headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, last night.

Initially designed and built by UniSA students, and modified and driven by a team of volunteers and UniSA researchers, the three-wheeled electric green machine was Australia’s only representative in the first zero emission global race for vehicles powered by renewable energy.

‘Team Trev’ developer Dr Peter Pudney from UniSA’s School of Mathematics and Statistics, says Trev’s achievement is proof that green technology can achieve big things.

“We originally built Trev just because we wanted to show that it was possible to build a car that used clean energy and a lot less energy than a normal car,” Dr Pudney said.

“Clean electricity for the around the world trip cost us about $400, so it’s really cheap to run as well as clean – it makes you wonder why we are still driving around in petrol cars because we’ve shown it is possible to do it differently,” he said.

However, Dr Pudney said that we shouldn’t expect to see Trev on the production line anytime soon.

“We knew from the start that a car built by students would not be something that you could just shove in a showroom and start selling. There’s a lot more engineering to be done to make it into something that can be manufactured and sold,” Dr Pudney said.

“But we have shown that it is possible to use new techniques and materials to build a car that weighs substantially less than conventional cars, and uses a lot less energy.

“We’ve got a long way to go in Australia, if you look at the CO2 emissions that our cars emit per kilometre. The average new car sold emits 220g of CO2 per kilometre, Europe’s got a target of 130g per kilometre, and Trev is zero grams. Electric cars in general can have zero emissions if you recharge them from renewable energy, which is cheaper than petrol.

“Electric cars are starting to come into the country now, Mitsubishi has got some cars here and Nissan is not far behind but we still think it’s possible to cut down energy use and cut down emissions by making cars a lot lighter and more suited to the purpose of commuting.

“We drive to and from home and work in a car that’s capable of towing a car across the country, it’s really the wrong car for the job,” he said.

Over the next few days, Trev will be cleaned and then shipped back to Adelaide from Geneva. Dr Pudney is planning to hit the streets of Adelaide in Trev from mid-April.

Editor's Note: Original news release can be found here.