The prince visited the Ardingly Solar team on April 4, and had a go on their latest solar car.
The project is a collaboration between Ardingly College, Haywards Heath and Ifield College, Crawley, which enhances school students’ education by designing, building and racing highly advanced solar powered cars.
His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco is patron of the project and was was full of praise for the students’ efforts.
As Lev Petrov, the student head of Ardingly Solar, and Marie de Joufroy d’Abbans, student head of external relations, said: “This achievement is only possible due to the patronage and support by HSH Prince Albert II’s Monaco foundation and the help of our industrial and university sponsors.”
Ardingly Solar is taking part in this October’s BWSC Australian race. If successful, it will be the first UK and first school team to complete the race.
The team achieved sixth place in the cruiser class in the 2015 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge (BWSC) – a race from Darwin to Adelaide (3,000km).
This race, across the outback of Australia, tests both the advanced technologies of the car and the students’ resolve and tenacity.
The solar car is highly advanced using the latest technologies including 95 per cent efficient hub motors and 23 per cent efficient solar cells, said a spokesman.
It has already represented the UK in the 24-hour European Solar Challenge in September last year, completing nearly 600km and coming tenth out of 20 yniversity and company entrants.
Since then it has undergone a considerable upgrade with students from both schools working on Saturdays to make the car both lighter and more aerodynamic.
A new upgraded battery system has also been designed and is being built by Nicholas Buck, an engineering student from University of Surrey with the help of Warwick University’s manufacturing group, Delta Autosports and Potenza.
The upgraded battery system will give the car a range of 1,200 km, said a spokesman.