The Solar Phoenix’s Story

SunSpec4 ready to race at the World Solar Challenge 2015 held in Adelaide, Australia

On 25 August 2015, the Singapore Polytechnic’s solar car SunSpec4, which was to compete in the World Solar Challenge (WSC) 2015 in Australia, met with a debilitating roadblock. A freak fire saw eight months’ worth of sweat and blood reduced to ashes. It was devastating for the team of 52 students from the School of Electrical & Electronic Engineering and the School of Mechanical & Aeronautical Engineering.

Pulling themselves together, the team rebuilt the SunSpec4 through sheer grit and determination. Like the legendary bird, the rebuilt car was nicknamed “Phoenix” to symbolise its arising from the ashes.

Rebuilding SunSpec4, however, was no mean feat as the team toiled from morning to night. Thankfully, they weren’t alone in their struggles. Singapore Power stepped in to provide much-needed support in their project.

On 2 October 2015, Phoenix was on its way to the Outback of Australia for WSC. Darryl Ng, from the Mechatronics & Robotics diploma course as well as the mechanical team lead for SunSpec4, recounted that “it felt like such an accomplishment just being here” when he touched down at Darwin International Airport.

Daryl also shared his thoughts about the entire experience. “It was surreal and anti-climactic at the same time. The team spent so many days together then it suddenly all concluded in a bittersweet way. Through this experience, I have become a more confident individual. Thanks to the trials and tribulations, I now know what I am capable of under pressure.”

“For a good part of the solar car project, we were taught to figure things out on our own. The lecturers equipped us with the tools to find our own way, and I felt that this has given me an edge,” added Darryl.

  • Name: Darryl Ng

  • Polytechnic: SP

  • Course: Mechatronics & Robotics

  • Year of Study: Graduated in 2016

Former Secondary School: West Spring Secondary School