TU/e students to build solar family car

Over twenty students from various departments will be working on a family car that runs on solar energy partly. Solar Team Eindhoven (STU) wants to use the car for the World Solar Challenge held in the Australian outback in October 2013.

The Universities of technology in Delft and Twente have been participating in the challenge for some time already (from 2001 onwards, the Delft Nuon Solar Team and their ‘Nuna’ won four editions in a row), but this year TU/e decided to compete in the biannual World Solar Challenge as well. Solar Team Eindhoven came to life thanks to the plans of two excited students of Built Environment, Lex Hoefsloot and Roy Cobbenhagen. Last year, nearing the end of their Bachelor’s program, they started brainstorming about new challenges.

The World Solar Challenge sees (university) teams from all over the world embark on a 3000-kilometer trip through the Australian desert. Solar Team Eindhoven will be competing in the new Cruiser category in which the vehicles are not only scored for speed, but also for the number of passengers they can carry, how much electricity is charged from the mains along the way, and for comfort and user-friendliness.

On the ground floor of Potentiaal, home to Electrical Engineering, twenty-two students from various departments will be sweating away on the design and the technical details of the upcoming Eindhoven solar vehicle, as well as concentrating on supporting tasks such as communication and sponsoring.  All team members have put their studies on hold for a year, so they can commit themselves to the solar project entirely. TU/e supports all members by providing them with a board grant. In time, the project will also be open to students looking for a Master’s internship or graduation project.

As far as automotive is concerned, Solar Team Eindhoven is working with a number of TU/e research groups and other student teams such as University Racing Eindhoven, InMotion, and TU/ecomotive. The team’s also talking to companies for some form of contribution, including sponsorship deals.

The project’s budget is estimated around 1.1 million euro. It’s a rather rough estimate including all costs.

Solar Team Eindhoven will be officially introduced on October 10 during the Ecomobiel trade fair in Rotterdam. The design should be completed by the end of this year; the team wants to start construction of the car in January, so the vehicle will be completed in June.

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