2D design new car Solar Team Twente revealed!
After the news that the World Solar Challenge will not take place after all, the mood at Solar Team Twente was very down. The launch of the new car was supposed to take place on March 5th. Partly due to the cancellation of the race, this has now become 12 March. Marketing & Communications Manager Mark van Eijk and Aerodynamics Engineer Job Hofste gave us a little peek under the covers earlier… Tip: check out the teaser they made for the new model!
So the mood was pretty low. However, it soon gave way to a sense of reality. Mark: “It’s all very unpleasant, but that car will be there and we are now working with all the teams to come up with an alternative for the race.” There is no concrete idea yet: “We want to do ‘something’ in the autumn. What we don’t know yet, but the fact is that we are going to do something!”
The monohull design in 2D!
Name and 3D design to follow
It is the first time that a new team has released the design that was supposed to win the championship in October in Australia: “We started the production of the new car last week, the design was already fixed for a while. We are happy that today we can finally show it in 2D! Soon we also expect to present the name on our social media channels. This June, we expect to actually present the car.” Corona did not cause any restrictions in the past year according to Mark: “We are financially healthy and all partners are behind us and are also very involved. By the way, companies can still support us!
Drastically modified rules
In contrast to the previous models – which were mostly based on the ‘Catamaran principle’ – this one will be completely different. Aerodynamics Engineer Job explains: “The rules and requirements for the design have been adjusted considerably. Now, rules are changed every two years, but this year the changes have much more impact. Reinterpreting these rules automatically means a lot to all technical considerations that you make as a team. And therefore also the final design.” Mark welcomes the fact that the rules are changed once in a while: “That’s good for your innovative strength. You want to keep pushing to come up with something new. With the new set of requirements we had to start all over again from scratch.”
From catamaran to monohull
The result is a bullet-shaped solar car, based on the ‘monohull principle’: “In terms of aerodynamics, that’s an interesting starting point for creating and thinking out a design. Our design is also twice as long as last year’s model.” The regulations now also make it possible to use a larger surface of solar cells: “It is then a question of finding an optimum between the size of the car – is heavier and therefore less aerodynamic – and a larger surface of solar cells which in turn means more energy.”
Last year’s model based on the Catamaran principle.
Stability standard more stringent
The most important change in the rules is the increased ‘stability standard’. Job: “The car must be able to handle more ‘lateral’ forces, namely 1G. This is more than previous editions. Because of this requirement, your car will be less likely to tip. This is of course independent of any wind gusts. What is also nice to mention is that the air resistance is comparable to that of a Grolsch beer bottle!”
Three wheel concept
The model for this year may still be equipped with four wheels. However, the option of three wheels has now been added: “It is therefore up to the teams to choose three or four wheels. Our ‘three wheel concept’ is expected to be more stable than the previous four wheelers. Our monohull design provides more stability against crosswinds compared to the catamaran concept.”
Watch the teaser they made for the new model:
Fairer and more sustainable
Another important change is that the Gallium Arsenide solar panels normally used on satellites should not be used: “These panels are extremely pricey and also toxic if degraded incorrectly. In addition, not all teams can obtain this type of panels. So in addition to the sustainable argument, it is also primarily a consideration that should lead to a fairer competition between the teams.”
Shift to consumers
Mark and Job both see a clear, new line that has been taken with the modified rules and requirements: “They are shifting more towards the standard for consumers. For example, the requirement to fit a 6-foot mannequin is really new and exemplifies all the other custom rules that are more consumer minded.” More than other years, usability has become even more important to increase the chances of profit: “We are further developing our motor control unit and we are working on a new electric motor that may provide higher efficiency.”
Efficiency vs. usability
Job thinks there will always be a clear line between actual production for consumers and competitions like this one: “We are fundamentally only focused on efficiency, because that is also where the gains to be made lie. User-friendliness and comfort will always be a supporting factor in that.” We also asked if there were already plans for a model for the consumer market like Solar Team Eindhoven is currently doing with the Lightyear One: “We don’t have any concrete plans, but who knows. I think the main challenge now is to make a car – based on solar energy – also profitable above the northern