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Winning the SASOL Solar Challenge

21-10-2016 / Winning the SASOL Solar Challenge

Today the Nuon Solar Team proved once again that they are able to build to most efficient solar car in the world. The students from Delft University of Technology won the SASOL Solar Challenge after an eight day solar race through South Africa. With a total of 4717 kilometers, the team broke the current world record of most kilometers driven in a solar race.

Even with numerous setbacks and accidents, the students of the Nuon Solar Team won the SASOL Solar Challenge for the second time. With 173 kilometers more than their biggest opponent, the Japanese team from Tokai University, the difference between the number one and number two was never so little. Two years ago, the difference between the winner and the runner-up was over 1500 kilometers.

The race wasn’t an easy one for Dutch team. Just one week before they took off, their solar car crashed on a test course. After a week full of reparations, they fixed the car. On the second day of the race however, Nuna crashed on a wall and damaged her nose. The days that followed, the team experienced a lot of trouble because of the hard wind and the students were stopped by the police. The fact that the team succeeded with all these unexpected circumstances, is mostly because of the excellent teamwork, explains Team Manager Sjoerd Stevens. “The past year, we have focused on working together as a team extensively. We looked at the functioning as whole, but also the different roles that the team members take on. This benefitted us in many ways.”

Even though the Nuon Solar Team has won most of the competitions they took part in, winning a solar race becomes less and less obvious. In South Africa it became apparent that the all the competing solar cars start to look more alike each year. Winning the race this year, was because of small differences. The team from Delft succeeded in changing a tire numerous times within 1.5 minutes, which gained them a lot of time. Also the newly developed solar panel (according to the team “the best solar panel in the world”), has helped them in an efficient race. The growing competition means that the Nuon Solar Team has to put in their maximum effort for the race in October 2017 to prolong their world title.

SASOL Solar Challenge SA
On the 24th of September the SASOL Solar Challenge South Africa started: an eight day solar race from Pretoria to Cape Town. The Nuon Solar Team participated with Nuna8s, an upgraded version of solar car Nuna 8, with which they won on Australia in 2016. The goal in South Africa was to drive as many kilometers as possible. The team of Delft University of Technology drove 4717, enough to beat their competitors Tokai University (4544) and Megalux (4033).