Once through the Australia – fueled only by the sun


Students who want to turf with their solar car for the World Solar Challenge through Australia. Two years, you would have fiddled to her car. Now it’s equipped with a space-solar-cells.

The solar car rolled on the test track, it can travel over 100 kilometers per hour

Jennifer Machura accelerates your car at over 100 kilometers per hour. The sun is shining on the test track in Aldenhoven near Aachen, Germany. And this power of the sun, the solar car of the Aachen student team, solar car e. V. in forward drives.

It should cope with in order 3022 kilometres from North to South through Australia. That’s about the same distance as from Amsterdam to Ankara in Turkey.

In Australia, around 100 Teams from around the world, the race from Darwin to Adelaide. On Sunday, 13. October, to 8:30 PM local time it’s on. The following Saturday, all Teams should have arrived. The Aachener want to make it to Thursday.

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It can be quite uncomfortable

Four riders from the Team will share the track. Go for about six hours at a check point where each Team must make a half-hour break. That is, for driver, Jenni and her colleagues, around six hours on the floor of the vehicle in the tight driver’s cab endure.

When the sun shines through the disk from so-called Makrolon on the black carbon structure of the car, it can be pretty hot. Air conditioning and a Seating would have been too much weight. At least a back rest is. “It is a race car and not be as comfortable,” says Jenni.

Driver Jennifer Machura has the solar car is in the grip of

You have to respect the race, especially when the big Australian road trains, truck, between 36 and 53 feet in length, to pull you over. But she is sure that she and her Team have built the car stable. The vortex of air generated by a passing road train, have appointed someone from the 46-member Team, of all things, she says.

Before and after the solar cars drive vehicles with signs on the little fellow’s attention. In an accompanying car, the driving strategy-Team of the Aachen sits then. You have created a model that accurately calculates, what the Weather is like the car how fast can go. So you can exploit the energy as efficiently as possible and must not fear to have to eventually stop. By radio they are connected with the Cockpit of the solar car.

Tough competition and a cookie-exchange transactions

The Team from Aachen to compete in the Challenger category. You will need to prevail against stiff racing competition from Cambridge and from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston. For 30 years, the Solar race in Australia.

From Germany, another Team is yet to come. The Bochum-based boffins have built a car for the category of Cruiser. Here it is more about building practical cars. The driver is not alone in this, as in the Aachen car, but there are still two passengers. The vehicles in this class are also allowed to all the 1200 kilometres to the outlet, in contrast to the Challenger candidates, which may only soak up the sun’s rays.

Markus Eckstein, from Aachen, was already at the last race in 2017. “It helps, for a change, among the Teams,” he says: “there is a tool or a spare part for a packet of biscuits.” The 26 – year-old master student in automation engineering from the shared tent of each team camps is told in the Australian Wilderness. For the race in October, all 46 members of the team have already booked their flights and rental cars.

170 kg the solar car weighs in at two years, the Team has fiddled

They all wanted to be there. Two years, they have puzzled together on your new car. It is 50 to 70 hours per week were already in the project, says Jenni. You still have to write two exams, before going to the race. Also now in the hall next to the test track, some have brought their learning stuff. A lot of time to take a look remains.

It will be screwed up and down and again looked. In the case of the first test drive in a Thunderstorm. The battery lasts for a couple of rounds, but the students get their cars rather quickly in the dry hall. Now, only the lid with the test solar cells is to the happiness of it. The right lid is still waiting for his use.

With the sun and the Wind

890 solar cells have been installed for the students. The Team has long worked on the wiring. You figured out exactly where the shadow of the cockpit falls to travel through Australia. “Switch to the cells, the composite is only as strong as the weakest cell,” says Iskender Demir, who is studying in the Master of electrical engineering: “that’s Why we switched to the weakest cells, which absorbed a lot of shadow, and separate them from the stronger.”

At 12 noon, the solar cells provide the car with a Kilowatt of electricity. This corresponds to the power that is in need of a more efficient vacuum cleaner or a small hair dryer. Nevertheless, you can be an average of 100 kilometres per hour on the road, they hope to be able to come up with the Top Teams compete.

In the last race, you were the best Newcomer car, so the best group, which was for the first Time. 600 kilometers do you want to create in one day, due to their battery with a capacity of five kWh and the additional Charging by the solar cells.

The very thin small Solar plates on the car are only used on satellites in space. They are almost twice as efficient as the cells that lie on the roofs of houses. For this, they are also quite expensive.

The exact price of the car no one wants to talk. He spent approximately in the range of a luxury sports car, says Severin Kobus, the industrial engineering and management studies. The cars of the top teams were, in part, have been more than twice as expensive.

A little Trick to have built the Aachen-based still in addition to the solar cells. With enough Wind, you can put the car about three to five degrees across and, so to speak, sailing, the Wind drives, so a little bit of time with.

Solar expert Iskender Demir kneels next to the solar car with driver Jennifer Machura. The Team holds the hubcap.

The Countdown is on

In addition to the RWTH and the FH Aachen, where the students are enrolled, Fund 77 companies in the project. Covestro tests on the vehicle a new paint that has no name yet, and the from 70% organic raw materials to exist.

This week, the car is loaded, to be in time with the ship in Australia. 170 kg weighs the narrow. If the route to the test in Aldenhoven through the steep curves of the raster, the pulse in many of the Team higher. Iskender Demir, it may well not even look at when the car is due to the steep curve of rushes, driver Jenni to be his girlfriend.

As in the curve a Radklappe departing, all at once. For the test drive this is only glued on in Australia, but will be all screwed. And so it goes then 3000 kilometers through the desert.

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