After winning the World Solar Challenge in Australia, it’s time for the Eindhoven Solar Team to participate in another race. During the weekend from 21 to 23 September, the TU team will take part in the European Solar Challenge in Belgium.
23 teams from all over the world will participate in the 24-hour endurance race this year. The task which the organisation has given to the participants sounds quite simple; to keep driving as many laps as possible. To do that, the Eindhoven team uses its well-known Stella Vie, the same solar car with which they became world champion in October 2017. This time, however, they are not driving in a straight line from north to south, but on a ten-turn circuit in Flanders.
Not only the route to follow but also the Belgian weather conditions are not comparable to ‘Down Under’. Kyron Pijpers, a team member of the Solar Team Eindhoven, thinks that the rather unpredictable weather will not cause any problems: “On a sunny day we have a range of about a thousand kilometres with our car.” This range is the result of both a battery pack and the solar cells on the roof. The batteries will deliver the Stella Vie a range of 650 kilometres and the solar cells will also deliver another 350 kilometres. Pijpers continues: ” Even on a rainy day, the solar panels add another hundred to two hundred kilometres to the total range.” In addition, the batteries of the participating cars can be recharged twice during the race.
With the start of the new academic year, an entirely new team had to be established. “In February we started the application procedure. For example, we distributed leaflets and stood at the TU buildings to recruit new members. After a few info lunches, interested students were asked to send their resume and motivation, after which they were invited for a case study. This made clear who were suitable for the job.” says Pijpers. “It was not necessarily about how smart they were, but mainly about their enthusiasm and willingness to learn something new.” he continues.
To prepare them for the upcoming time, some of the new team members will join the competition, which will be held on a former Formula 1 circuit in Zolder. Pijpers: “We’re going to show them what such a competition is all about. We’ll let them watch, learn and help.”
The young car mechanics will surely be able to use these experiences. At the moment they are busy developing an entirely new solar car. The primary goal is to participate in the biannual World Solar Challenge in 2019.
Main Photo (c) Bart van Overbeeke