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Participation World Solar Challenge uncertain for Nuon Solar Tea

Posted on 05-10-2017

Essential battery might not arrive in Australia; team is working on a ‘plan B’

The Nuon Solar Team faces adversity as their solar car’s essential custom-made battery is stuck in Singapore. Extensive efforts to find a new means of transportation to Australia go unrewarded. Airlines have increased their level of caution due to recent incidents with instable mobile batteries, even when they are not charged – as is the case. Team members from Delft have therefore begun unrolling plan B: manufacturing a brand-new battery by hand in Australia.

The delayed transportation is quite troubling, as it jeopardizes the Nuon Solar Team’s participation in the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge – starting on October 8th. Team members are currently giving it their all to find a potential new route for the battery pack, between Singapore and Darwin. Furthermore, an emergency plan has come into force: the team is attempting to order parts in Japan to build – if necessary – a new battery. This is all nerve-racking, as the race is in less than a month.

Alternative route

“Although we are working with every means at our disposal, both options remain risky”, says team manager Sander Koot. “We are looking for alternative routes to get our battery from Singapore to Darwin. That might succeed, but it will cost us a lot of time nonetheless and it can go wrong in many ways.” The team has already spent a lot of time transporting the battery, via Moscow, to Singapore. “A potential route would be Kuala Lumpur-Sydney by plane and Sydney-Darwin by car. Even in the most favourable scenario it will be nerve-racking, because we will still have to do a lot of testing.”

Not starting the race is not an option

“Regardless of this outcome, we will order all necessary parts for a new battery from Japan to enable manufacturing in Darwin. That is quite time-consuming, but what must be done must be done. Not starting the race certainly is not an option”, says Sander. “It’s fantastic to see how many people are trying to support our team, especially our main sponsor and the university.”

Not our first setback

The Nuon Solar Team has dealt with setbacks before. A defected car suspension jeopardized the team’s participation in the 2013 edition of the World Solar Challenge. These problems were only solved in the last week before the race – after a lot of day- and nightwork. Ultimately, they were able to prolong their championship title once more with Nuna7. The 2009 edition was even more nerve-racking: Nuna5 crashed during a test drive and had to be restored completely within one week. Nuna5, with an improvised timber front, still managed to become the runner-up after Tokai (Japan). On paper a disappointment, but in reality perhaps the greatest success of the team – to date.  

 

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