Solar Team Eindhoven's motivation ‘sky high’ after setback

Solar Team Eindhoven hopes, despite initial bad luck, to “smash it” in Australia during the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge, starting 8 October. The TU/e students got back their solar car only yesterday and their battery only today - over three weeks later than planned. Spokesperson Beatrix Bos does not rule out legal steps as a consequence of the delays, “but right now our focus is on the WSC”.

As early as August 29, says Bos, it was evident that something “was clearly very wrong”, when the crate containing the car, the battery and the reserve parts turned out not to have been put on the expected flight.

Yesterday Stella Vie finally arrived in Darwin, followed today by the battery. Bos cites various reasons for the delay, ranging from (according to the airline) the crate carrying the car being too large to “bureaucratic processes that always take a long time. Even though we had built in a considerable margin, we hadn't bargained for a hold-up on this scale. The delay just kept on growing.”

In the meantime, the team followed tradition and drove the route in reverse from Adelaide to Darwin, in order to experience all the procedures and routines in practice. “We have set up camp a couple of times, we know the deal with all kinds of protocols relating to, say, safety - that's a good feeling.”

Now, however, after a wait of more than three-and-a-half weeks for its most important items, the team must work extra hard. “The more time you have, the longer and better your testing can be.  In advance you set yourself requirements as it were: ‘This is good enough to get through the WSC, to win we need this ’. You look at every aspect of the car like that. Actually now we can only do the essential tests, most of which are important for safety.”

The consequence of all that has occurred for the performance the Eindhoven team will eventually be able to deliver in the WSC is not something Bos can easily estimate. “Our main hope is that we can finish the course.” But, she believes, that doesn't change the fact that the spirit in the team, now that they have the car and battery, is fully revived. “We are simply going to smash it and try and win the WSC. Our motivation is sky high.”

Bos does not rule out her team giving the Australian adventure a legal finale, due to the huge transport delay: “We will try to take steps”. Against whom, and how far are they prepared to go? “At this point I can't say anything about that, everything still needs to be worked out. Right now our focus is on the WSC.”

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