Solar-powered family car covers 875 km in Australia on a single charge

Solar Team Eindhoven covered a distance of 875 km last week without recharging in the solar‑powered family car which they have developed themselves. The students are in Australia preparing for the 2013 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge, to be held from 6 to 13 October. The distance of 875 km, covered under a partly cloud-filled sky, exceeds the team’s expectations, which were based on a maximum of 800 km in clear conditions.

Under the name of Solar Team Eindhoven, a group of students from TU/e came up with the idea of a solar-powered family car around one-and-a-half years ago. The car draws most of its energy from the 6 m2 roof-mounted solar panels, but it also has batteries for longer distances and short bursts of acceleration. Their idea is now reality, and the car is taking part in next month’s 2013 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge in Australia. The car’s most striking feature is that it’s ‘energy-positive’ – in normal everyday use it generates more power than it consumes. So that surplus energy can be delivered to the electricity grid.

2013 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge
University teams from all over the world will be competing in a 3,000 km long race through the Australian outback. Solar Team Eindhoven is taking part in the Cruiser class in which the emphasis lies on practical and user-friendly solar cars rather than on speed. The ‘solar race’ takes place from 6 to 13 October 2013. Back in the Netherlands there will be a tour of high schools to promote engineering and science in education.

The engineer of tomorrow
Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) is a research-driven, design-oriented university of technology with a strong international focus. TU/e has defined strategic areas focusing on societal challenges in the fields of Energy, Health and Smart Mobility. Thanks to Solar Team Eindhoven entry, TU/e is represented for the first time in the 2013 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge. A multidisciplinary team (with 22 students from six different TU/e departments) has spent a year on this project that involves challenges from the fields of energy and mobility. Cooperation with industry has given the students an opportunity to become familiar with top-notch entrepreneurship, thereby underlining TU/e’s vision of educating the engineer of tomorrow.