25 September 2016 – On the second day of the SASOL Solar Challenge, the Nuon Solar Team kept their first position despite minor accident. The solar car from the Japanese Tokai University is just behind the Dutch team.
After finishing their last loop-stop of the day, solar car Nuna hit a wall. After the impact of the collision, the nose and the head-light were damaged. This means that the airflow around the solar car is severely disrupted, leading to more energy consumption than planned. Luckily, the strategist Christel Prins left some room in her strategy for a set-back like this, so the team had some time to make some temporary fixes at the nest loop-stop. With a piece of foam and some tape, the shape of the nose of solar car Nuna has been fixed as much as possible. This lead to a minimal loss of energy under the circumstances of the crash. Tonight will be a long night for the technicians, as they will put their maximal effort in a permanent fix so solar car Nuna will be at her best at the start of the third race day.
Never before have competing solar teams been so close in the SASOL Solar Challenge. Two years ago, the students of Delft University of Technology have won the race while driving almost 1500 kilometers more than their opponents. However, last year in the Australian Solar Challenge, the competition has come much closer. The team from Delft has won seven out of nine solar racing world championships, but their lead has changed from hours, to just minutes. In seven days, we will see if they will once again bring the world title to the Netherlands.
Photos by Hans-Peter van Velthoven