A solar racing team from Germany has its eyes set on the finish line of the biennial 3,000km World Solar Challenge which will be held next October from Darwin to Adelaide – and has a new weapon to get it there.
The Sonnenwagen team, which successfully completed what is known as the world’s toughest solar race in 2017, will tackle the challenge using cutting edge – and sustainable – technology to boost their solar car’s aerodynamics.
Named “Best Newcomer” when it crossed the line in Adelaide, the Sonnenwagen team has signed on sustainable materials company Covestro as their main sponsor, who are continuing development on the bio-based polyurethane used on the 2017 Sonnenwagen electric solar vehicle.
Covestro will also provide technical assistance to the Sonnenwagen team, which hails from German universities RWTH Aachen University and FH Aachen, in a bid to push the team towards further success in 2019.
“Sustainability is a core component of our corporate strategy, and solar mobility can make an important contribution to climate protection and the conservation of fossil resources,” says Dr. Markus Steilemann, CEO of Covestro.
The Leverkusen-based company brings valuable experience, gained from participation in the Solar Impulse project – the world’s first ever airplane flight fuelled purely by solar energy on a 40,000km trip around the planet.
The first step towards Sonnenwagen’s participation in the 2019 Solar World Challenge was recently completed at the European Solar Challenge which took place last month on a former Formula 1 track in Belgium.
In that race, the Sonnenwagen team placed third in the gruelling 24 hour race in the “Challenger” class.
“It couldn’t get any better; despite the very difficult race course and the adverse weather conditions, we were able to get the optimum out of the race result,” said first team chairman Markus Eckstein after the race.
“We are confident that we will be able to take the upturn in success in Belgium with us to Australia and start there with a view to the podium as well.”
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles for two years. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.