An Australian car is officially the world's fastest solar-powered vehicle, breaking the previous record of 79km/h.

The solar racer Sunswift IVy (known as Ivy) was designed and built at the University of NSW.

"We've beaten the record by 10kms (per hour) - it reached a speed of 88kms - and we think we can get it over 90kms," a UNSW spokesman told AAP on Friday.

Power-driven by silicon solar cells trapping energy from the sun, the IVy broke the official Guinness World Record in a time trial on Friday. In a race in 2009 from Darwin to Adelaide, IVy hit a top speed of 103km/h and on Friday morning it unofficially broke the record several times in trial runs.

The official speed trial took place at the HMAS Albatross naval base at Nowra on the NSW south coast, with professional drivers Barton Mawer and Craig Davis at IVy's controls.

Vehicles challenging to break the speed record in the category are needed to be powered only by solar cells. IVy normally uses its cells to charge a 25kg battery, but this was detached for the record attempt. At speed, the car produces about 1,200 watts, roughly the same power as a household toaster.


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