Lessons learned: because of their experiences in the previous edition of the World Solar Challenge, the Delft, Eindhoven and Twente solar racing teams are sending their battery packs to Australia three months ahead of the World Solar Challenge they will be competing in. Last time, the batteries had been transported by plane, but because of the safety rules surrounding the transport of batteries, these much-needed parts of the Vattenfall Solar Team (TU Delft) and the Eindhoven Solar Team were stranded during a stopover in Singapore. Only two weeks before the start of the race the battery arrived in Darwin. The participation of these two Dutch teams in the 2017 race was therefore uncertain for a long time.

Read more about the World Solar Challenge.

In order to avoid this emergency scenario this year, the teams now decided to send their batteries by boat to Australia. “We learned from the stressful period of the last World Championship when the battery got stuck in Singapore,” says Bruno Martens, technical manager of the Vattenfall Solar Team. “To defend our world title this year, we need our battery, which is why we have chosen to produce it early so that it can be transported as quickly as possible. The battery will go to Sydney and from there it will be transported via the Stuart Highway to Darwin.”

“Beat the Dutch”

Today the students of the three teams gathered in the halls of Brainport Industries Campus – where Solar Team Eindhoven built their car – to prepare their batteries for transport. “It is logistically as well as financially advantageous for all three of us to tackle the transport together. In this way, we will hopefully ensure that the motto of the world championship will once again be #BeatTheDutch”, says Evan Quadvlieg, technical manager of Solar Team Eindhoven.

Before the transport of the race in 2017, the Vattenfall Solar Team and the Solar Team Eindhoven had already combined the transport of the battery to take advantage of this. This year, the team from Twente will be joining in. “The transport of batteries is quite complex. As solo teams, we all face the same challenge. By working together we reduce the transport risks so that all three of us can start in October,” says Merel Oldenburg, responsible for logistics and transport at Solar Team Twente.

The batteries are expected to arrive in Australia on 25 August. This is one and a half months before the start of the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge, which starts on 13 October. During this race, the teams will drive over 3,000 km through the outback of Australia, completely on the power of the sun. During the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge, the solar racing teams from Delft and Twente compete against each other in the Challenger Class, where they have to cover the distance as quickly as possible. The Delft students will try to achieve their eighth world title. The team from Eindhoven will also try to keep their first place in the Cruiser Class, where the teams will race in family cars that they have developed themselves. Eindhoven has already won three times, with which a 100% score has been achieved.

This year for the first time a fourth Dutch team will participate: Top Dutch Solar Racing from Groningen.

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© Bart van Overbeeke

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