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Ultra-light Solar Cars Almost Blown Away in South Africa

26-09-2016 / Ultra-light Solar Cars Almost Blown Away in South Africa

Last year the Nuon Solar Team has been working night and day to build the world’s best solar car in order to win the SASOL Solar Challenge in South Africa. Yesterday the team experienced a minor accident. Luckily the team managed to repair the damage overnight. On the third day of the race the solar teams struggle with the weather conditions. Due to the wind gusts it has become difficult for the ultra-light solar cars to stay on the road. Despite the circumstances the students of the TU Delft maintain their leading position in the race.

Fixing Nuna
Yesterday, the Nuon Solar Team had a small collision with a wall, damaging the nose of their solar car Nuna. Driving with a damaged nose could cost a lot of energy, thus losing speed. Last night, the team members have tried their best to fix the nose, but it will still need some more work to get the solar car in perfect racing condition.

Light or Reliable?
There are many considerations to take into account when building a solar car. Team member Siebe Roefs explains: ‘Every day we make the assessment between, for instance, a lighter or a more reliable car. The lightest car may be the quickest whereas a more stable car may be less likely to get damaged. I notice that a lot of South African teams choose weight over reliability, which can be seen on windy days like these.’

Race day three
At 17:30 the team reached the finish line at Gariepdam. The students notice the drought. ‘The river dam delivers less energy than when we were here two years ago. The energy shortage could be replenished by solar energy. This is why it is of great importance to make people aware of the possibilities of solar energy.’ According to David Kester, electrical engineer of the Nuon Solar Team.