Meet the Solar Car team

The Solar team 

The 22 member Solar Car team is comprised of Western Sydney University students from the fields of Engineering, Industrial Design and Visual Communications. The students manage every aspect of the production and design of the vehicle, as well as sponsorship, marketing and the administrative elements of their involvement in the Challenge.

Here are some of our members.

Rohan Munjal

Rohan Munjal is a 23 year old Bachelor Engineering student at Western Sydney University.

Rohan is a stalwart member of the Solar Car Team – having been involved in both the 2013 and 2015 challenges. He says he joined the inaugural team one year into the build of the first solar car, SolAce. In subsequent years, he has enjoyed being a part of the design and build process.

As a senior member of the mechanical team in 2017, Rohan he is responsible for the manufacturing process of the solar car and ensuring that the vehicle is mechanically sound. He was also involved in designing the suspension of the new solar car – which is much more compact than in previous years.

"Due to regulation changes in this year's competition, the size of the car needed to be adjusted. You always try to go smaller in terms of design, to optimise efficiency – but you can't go too small, as you also have to ensure the stability of the car. It's a balancing act," says Rohan.

Rohan is expecting to graduate from University in December 2017, after which hopes to move overseas and work in the renewable energy or automotive sectors.

Max Mammone

Max Mammone is a 20 year old Bachelor Engineering student at Western Sydney University.

Max heard about the Solar Car Project when the 2015 team came into his classroom to share their experiences. He says he immediately expressed his interest and was given a trial project by the team.

"My first task was to help research different suspension systems for the vehicle. I am a mountain biker, and what immediate struck me is that the suspension of mountain bikes are very similar. I was hooked," says Max.

Since then, Max's role has been helping to design and manufacture the rear suspension and brake system for the vehicle.

Max says he is enjoying his Engineering degree, and is finding that the practical experience of working on the Solar Car Project directly correlates with the theoretical elements of his studies.

"The degree definitely has a heavy workload, but I find that – being involved in the Solar Project – the work becomes easier. There are things that we learn when working on the car that are reiterated in class. The Solar Car team has 1st years to 4th years, all working together and sharing their expertise – it's practical, hands-on learning that allows us to re-learn our course material."

Mario Trape

Mario Trape is a 21 year old Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) student at Western Sydney University. Mario is an international student from Brazil.

Mario says engineering is his life. He began his first engineering internship as a student of a technical high school in Brazil at the age of 13. He has completed an Advanced Diploma of Electrical Engineering at TAFE, and is now a member of the electrical team on the Solar Car Project.

Mario is responsible for ensuring that the electrical systems within the solar car are functioning correctly.

"All aspects of the electrical systems – the circuits, batteries – are all thoroughly stress tested before they are fitted to the car. This is essential, to ensure that each element of the car is functioning and, mostly importantly, to ensure that the drivers will be safe," says Mario.

Karl Monteiro

Karl Monteiro, a 21 year old Bachelor of Engineering student, is the Logistics Manager for the Solar Car Project.

Karl and his family moved to Sydney two years ago from Albury. When Karl first heard about the Solar Car team, he joined as a way of meeting new people in Sydney. He says he very quickly became very involved in the team, and now they are like a family.

"I spend a lot of time at the Solar Car lab, and we have weekly dinners to keep everyone up-to-date on progress. When I first started, I had no idea just how many put I would meet, and all the things that I would learn from them," says Karl.

Karl first started in the mechanical team, and was involved in designing the wheel hubs, nuts and axle of the car. As Logistics Manager, he is now responsible for coordinating the entire trip to Darwin and Adelaide.

"We will have 25 people, in a convoy of six cars, for a period of five weeks. It's my job to make sure we have enough food, water, fuel and spare parts for the trip, and to book all of the accommodation. Some nights we will be staying in hotels and cabins, and other nights we will be camping by the roadside – so I organise all the camping gear as well."

Grace Mitchell

Grace Mitchell is a 19 year old Bachelor of Design (Visual Communications) student and is the Graphics Lead for the Solar Car team as well as one of its drivers.

As the Graphics Lead, Grace is responsible for constructing a new website for the solar car team, as well as designing the livery of the vehicle.

"I am so excited that my design will be seen on a global scale. Of all the practical work that I get to do in my degree, with this project I can say that my work is going towards something real."

Grace enrolled in the Visual Communications degree after attending Western Sydney University's Open Day.

"I'm really enjoying the degree. See what it was all about at Open Day really helped to make my decision, about what to study – and I can say now that it's exactly what I thought it would be."

After she graduates, Grace is hoping to pursue a career as a graphic designer, potentially in the field of advertising.