Solar Team Eindhoven’s car suffered considerable damage during its journey from the Netherlands to Australia. Along the way, one of the wooden beams of the transport box caused a hole in the solar panel. “Our motto is that there is a solution for every problem, but this will cost a lot of valuable time.”
The solar car of the Eindhoven students arrived in Darwin on 5 September. In Darwin, the starting place of the competition, the students of the Eindhoven University of Technology will in the coming weeks make the final preparations for the world championship for solar cars. “Planning was already very tight this year because we chose to develop additional innovations such as autonomous driving”, says team member Marije Sesink. “In the coming weeks, a lot has to be tested and the transport damage means that even less time remains. The fewer kilometres we can make, the smaller the chance of a reliable car.”
The roof of the car consists of several solar panels, which in turn consist of separate solar cells. Sesink: “The transport box in which the car was transported probably had such a big blow during transport that one of the beams broke through the sturdy protective cover of the solar panel and caused damage to one of those panels.”
The broken solar panel must be completely dismantled to subsequently investigate what can be reused. Niels Dirks, responsible for the solar panel, says: “Of course we have spare panels, but on this panel lay the solar cells that came out of our tests with the highest efficiency. By looking at whether we can save a number of cells and reassembling the panel, we hope that we will not have to compromise on what the panel will yield.”
The team – defending champion of the race – participates with their ‘charging station on wheels’ in the Cruiser Class of the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge. The participating teams cover a distance of more than 3000 kilometres from north to south Australia. The Cruiser Class, where efficiency and application for daily use are concerned, is the counterpart of the Challenger Class, where speed is concerned. The competition starts on October 13 in Darwin and ends on October 20 in Adelaide.
The three other Dutch teams – from Delft, Twente and Groningen – are competing in the Challenger Class.