Our Story


In 2023, we competed in the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge where we finished the incredibly tough event in under six days for the first time. We finished 11th with our new solar car, DUSC2023,  which meant we were the best placing British team to complete the 3000km race across the Australian outback. 

The team travelled as far as we could between 8am until 5pm and then camped in the desert during the night. The outback is very  unpredictable so we were very impressed by the stability and reliability of the car, only needing to pull over twice during the whole race. When finally driving in Adelaide towards the end of the race, we had to deal with the bustling city along side rush hour traffic but the excitement and pride of carrying the car over the finish line made everything worth it!

bright network award and palace green

We were thrilled to announce our selection as the 2021 Environmental Society of the Year by Bright Network – sponsored by Openreach.

The award is acknowledgment of the strives that we have made over the past year in driving forward the implementation of green technology in transport as well as the work we have done in spreading sustainability awareness through the education of young students at a multitude of community outreach events and school visits. Talks to over 1,500 students in the last 6 months alone.

Furthermore, the Palace Green event allowed us to present the car to the Durham community, in the grounds of Durham Castle . 

Solar Tour UK

Community outreach takes us on trips across the country, spreading awareness of both sustainable transport and STEM education. We primarily visit schools, talking to students about the car’s tech and what they might be able to achieve through STEM.

We had high hopes for this year of racing in the American Solar Challenge, however, the disruption of COVID-19 forced us to withdraw. Instead, we set our sights on a UK based event (STUK), with a heavy focus on community outreach. Over two separate weeks we visited 12 schools from the Isle of Sheppey to Newcastle and everywhere in between, presenting to over 1,500 students.

European Solar Challenge

We were set to compete in the 2020 iLumen European Solar Challenge (iESC), the world’s only 24-hour endurance race of its kind. However, due to U.K. travel restrictions, the team had to withdraw from the competition. Determined to not let a year of hard work go to waste, the team organised an event of their own – the Ouston Solar Challenge

24 hours and 7 punctured tyres later, the team achieved an impressive 414 kilometres.

We received the iESC Hybrid Challenge Award for demonstrating unparalleled ingenuity and determination in taking on a 24-hour challenge of their own.

A British first with Ortus

In 2019, DUEM entered the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge with their newly built car, Ortus. Over the past two years the team designed and built Ortus themselves and were excited to show her off on an international platform.

After 6 days of driving across the outback, camping wherever Ortus stopped and making it to all 9 control stops, we achieved 14th place in the Challenger class. Ortus had traveled 2,834km, making us the top British Team in its category!

The car’s new and improved model tested to a top speed of 88kph (55mph), whilst weighing just 178kg and using less power than a hairdryer.

Journey of DUSC

Weighing just 250kg, and capable of a top speed of 100kph, we were confident that the car, DUSC2017, would be successful in the race. We completed an impressive 1000km of the 3000km challenge, despite it raining for a substantial portion of the route. Just take a look at our gallery of photos from WSC 2017.

A complete re-design

After 3 years of design and development, DUEM took part in the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge for the second time, with an all new design. With a carbon-fibre monocoque chassis, state-of-the-art aerodynamics and mechanical and electrical systems, the car (DUSC2015) had the potential to reach 70mph and weighed just 250kg.

Although faced with difficult circumstances, the team learned a great deal from this challenging experience and built upon these lessons in the highly successful entry in 2017. You can see our photo highlights from this challenge here.


2011 saw Durham make its first foray into the world’s premier solar race, the World Solar Challenge. The Australian Outback presented some unique challenges to the teams involved, including blistering temperatures, lightning storms, challenging terrain and even bush fires.

In qualifying, the car performed strongly, finishing in the top 10. Unfortunately once on the road, it was found that the car, DUSC2011, had encountered cracking on its highly fragile solar cells. Despite these issues, the team persevered, reaching Adelaide in just 7 days. Read more about the WSC here.


In 2008, Durham competed in the North American Solar Challenge (NASC); the only UK team to do so. The race took place over nine days on a route between Texas, Kansas and Calgary, covering just over 2500 miles.

After suffering early setbacks due to minor mechanical faults and poor solar conditions, the team finished the second half of the race strongly, moving steadily up the leader board and finishing 14th out of 26 entries. At the awards ceremony, Durham were awarded “Rookie Team of the Year” as the highest placed new entry.

Solar Car At Durham University

2002 saw the very beginnings of solar car at Durham University as the Formula Student team began to focus on electric motorsport, inspired by the world’s migration towards an increasingly sustainable and brighter future.