TU/e students win Bridgestone World Solar Challenge

A slowed battery and a broken center console right at the end of the Challenge. But in the end nothing or nobody could stop Solar Team Eindhoven. The student team from Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) wins the Cruiser Class (for practical solar-powered cars) for the third time at this year’s Bridgestone World Solar Challenge in Australia. The Cruiser Class is the class for practical, solar-powered cars. 

Getting maximum points

The aim of the Cruiser Class is to transport as many people as possible 3,000 kilometers from Darwin to Adelaide in the most energy-efficient way. The Eindhoven team drove the first 1,500 km with five occupants aboard. To move one person 100 kilometers the solar-powered car uses 0.4 kiloWatt hours (kWh). Compare this to a modern electric car that requires at least 8.5 times as much energy to do the same job.Thanks to the efficiency of transporting the most number of people possible, the team had already build a significant lead in points by day two.

Final stage

The team arrived on Friday morning in Adelaide after a journey of 3,022 kilometers, the final 250 of which was covered with 5 people aboard and at an average speed of 70 kilometers per hour. The whole journey was completed with an average of 3.4 persons per kilometer, using 48 kWh and gained a maximum score of 20 out of 20 for practicality on Saturday. 

Car of the future

Solar Team Eindhoven underlines this victory with its vision: the car of the future is one powered by solar energy. “The team is really proud and pleased,” says team manager Wout Gubbels. “While it was quite obvious that Eindhoven would be the victor, the team wanted to get across the finish line in Adelaide as a team. But it’s extra special to have already won purely on the basis of points for the most superefficient car.”

Take on the Dutch

Eindhoven is one of the three Dutch teams and shares victory with the other 'Orange' number 1. The team from Delft won this year’s Challenger class in which single-occupant solar-powered cars race to see who is fastest having already arrived on Thursday afternoon local time in Adelaide. The team from the Twente University of Technology was fifth.