We are world championship runners-up
Race day 7
We are world championship runners-up
The thyssenkrupp blue.cruiser and the SolarCar team from Bochum University came second overall in the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge in Australia. The team from Eindhoven in the Netherlands came first. The award ceremony was held on Sunday, Australian time.
But the thyssenkrupp blue.cruiser is the winner in the unofficial category “Who built the best looking car?” Its attractive design won over everyone at the World Solar Challenge from the outset. Unfortunately though, the organizers did not award a prize for design this year.
Also not relevant for the judging, but of great interest to Chris Selwood, managing director of the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge, is the sustainability aspect in the construction of the thyssenkrupp blue.cruiser. In a LCA (life cycle assessment) study with support from thyssenkrupp the SolarCar team from Bochum University examined the complete manufacturing and usage process of a solar-powered car, comparing the last two vehicles produced in Bochum. The organizers are considering including sustainability aspects – above all in the Cruiser class – in the team judging in future competitions.
Race day 6
First over the finishing line: thyssenkrupp blue.cruiser
The World Solar Challenge came to an end in Adelaide shortly after midday Australian time. The thyssenkrupp blue.cruiser was the first in its class to cross the finishing line, just ahead of “Stella Vie” driven by the Dutch team from Eindhoven. As the blue.cruiser recharged its battery more, it placed second overall behind “Stella Vie”. Third place went to the Arrow STF from Australia.
The other eight vehicles in the Cruiser Class all dropped out of the race due to the tough new regulations and the changeable weather. The practicality judging takes place tomorrow, but it is unlikely that this will change the rankings.
Race day 5
The blue.cruiser is still ahead of the field
After the penultimate stage in the World Solar Challenge the thyssenkrupp blue.cruiser still leads the field in its class – half an hour ahead of the Dutch team from Eindhoven. The Bochum team was forced into a 15 minute pit stop to change a flat tire. But the solar car made up this lost time with a consistently good speed of around 100 km/h. None of the other 13 teams that started in this class can match that. And in the overall scoring – the number of person-kilometers driven – the Bochum team is currently strongly positioned in second place. It’s only another 250 kilometers to Darwin. Things are looking good, and the excitement is mounting ….
Race day 4
Top form for the longest stage of the race
On day 4 the thyssenkrupp blue.cruiser faces the longest stage of the World Solar Challenge: 571 kilometers through the outback in glorious sunshine from Kulgera to Coober Pedy. The Bochum solar car’s problems with pulling away have been sorted out and it leads the Cruiser Class field on the Stuart Highway with a full complement of passengers, adding another 1,600 person-kilometers to the team’s overall score. That’s important, because victory or defeat on Friday (Australian local time) are decided not just by time and reaching the finishing line in Darwin between 11.00 a.m. and 2.00 p.m., but also by the number of person-kilometers driven. On day 4 the thyssenkrupp blue.cruiser and its team are in top form.
Race day 3
Bad weather in the outback puts team in good spirits
On the third day of the race the thyssenkrupp blue.cruiser once again covers almost 600 kilometers through the outback. On its way to Alice Springs, the unusually bad weather gives the Bochum car a boost, because its very large battery makes it far less dependent on the sun than the other solar vehicles. So if the weather stays bad, things are looking very good for the thyssenkrupp blue.cruiser. Five of the thirteen Cruiser Class cars have already suffered technical problems and had to switch to the Adventure Class.
But it’s not all plain sailing. As on the previous day, the car is unable to pull away from the control point, so the number of passengers has to be reduced for the next stage. Despite losing these person-kilometers the blue.cruiser is well placed and has a great chance of reaching Darwin on Friday in the prescribed time slot of 11.00 a.m. to 2.00 p.m.
Race day 2
100 km/h pursuit
The thyssenkrupp blue.cruiser carries on its pursuit from day 1. Cruising at a speed of 100 km/h it takes the lead at midday heading south. The Bochum solar car is driving the second-longest stage of the race from Daly Waters to Tennant Creek with a full load of four passengers, collecting valuable person-kilometers.
Then the exit from the second control point in Tennant Creek holds a nasty surprise for the team. Driving off on gravel causes big problems for the blue.cruiser, meaning it has to do the next stage, which lasts till Tuesday morning, with fewer passengers.
Video: SolarChallenge #2
Race day 1
Starting signal for the World Solar Challenge
On Sunday morning (local time) the long-awaited starting signal for the World Solar Challenge was finally given in Darwin, Australia. And the thyssenkrupp blue.cruiser was on pole position.
But after just a few kilometers the cockpit reported problems. These were successfully resolved in a 90 minute pit stop, and then the thyssenkrupp blue.cruiser went on to cover almost 500 kilometers – a good result! The strategists were very happy with the distance traveled and the level of battery discharge.
Tonight the team is staying at a caravan park in Larrimah, with showers and running water. It may well be the last time they enjoy such luxuries for the next five days of the race.