The thyssenkrupp blue.cruiser has taken an impressive second place in the Royal Automobile Club of Victoria (RACV) Cruiser Class of the World Solar Challenge. The SolarCar team from Hochschule Bochum did an excellent job throughout the race and was the first of its class to arrive at the finish line, but the Eindhoven team took the first prize thanks to a better overall standing.
Aimed at delivering a practical demonstration of what we can expect from the future of automotive technology, the latest edition of the seven-day 3,000-kilometerrace celebrated 30 years this year. It is the world’s biggest and foremost solar innovation challenge with teams from around the world competing to deliver sustainable solar-powered electric vehicles.
The RACV Cruiser Class takes into account practicality and acceptance in a commercial market segment, meaning the solar cars are the closest to what we are driving on the streets today. The participants aim to challenge our ideas about the vehicles we drive and the fuels we use. Picture this: the winner car from Eindhoven carried an average of 3.4 people over the 3021 km, using 45.7 kWh of external energy. A Tesla Model S85 (85 kWh battery) has a 400 km range. Amazing, isn’t it?
Speaking in Adelaide about the Cruiser Class, event director Chris Selwood said that ‘[The] future is now. These incredible solar cars have been designed with the commercial market in mind and have all the features you’d expect in a family, luxury or sporting car.’
(The thyssenkrupp blue.cruiser leading the way across Australia. Picture from Hochschule Bochum.)
An impressive backdrop
Nothing says Australia quite like the outback. This vast expanse has been witness of the exploration and development of the country, reflecting its pioneering spirit and unique identity. This was the backdrop of the World Solar Challenge, and what better place to test what solar power can do – nearly all of Australia enjoys sunny days. But make no mistake, the outback is not only sunny, the environment there is harsh and the cars were truly put to test.
The difficult conditions caused the thyssenkrupp blue.cruiser to suffer a few setbacks during the race, including a motor controller malfunction just 500 meters from the finish line, but the SolarCar team were up to the task and overcame every obstacle, proving that the technology is ready to be used.
To complement that, they pitched their car’s features from the point of view of two tourists travelling the Australian outback. The judges were impressed and also praised the environmentally sustainable materials used in the construction of the car, which included recycled material from previous solar cars. Unfortunately, this did not count in the final assessment, but it is yet another proof that the SolarCar team went the extra mile in terms of sustainability.
On its way home
The Panalpina Exhibition & Event Solutions team is proud to have transported the blue.cruiser and its supporting equipment from Germany to Australia, and is currently bringing it back home. The car is on its way from Adelaide to Hamburg via Singapore.
Transshipment onto Hapag-Lloyd / UASC Al Kharj in Singapore is scheduled for November 12/13, and the ETA for Hamburg is December 15. Final delivery of all material to the Hochschule Bochum will take place the week before Christmas, just in time for a double celebration. Congratulations, SolarCar team!