Solar-Sportscoupé to touch
Sustainability to the fore
This time developments focus on sustainability, making the thyssenkrupp blue.cruiser even more eco-friendly than its predecessor. For example the roll cage is made from ultrahigh-strength steel in a very light tubular design to test alternatives to carbon fibers, which are in part difficult to recycle. Sustainable materials were also trialed in the interior design. Instead of carbon fibers, linen and bio resin were used for the first time in the door paneling, instrument panel and center tunnel. No animals were harmed in the making of the seat covers, which are made of Piñatex – a kind of plant-based leather made from the fibers of pineapple leaves.
Space for four people
This is the first time that one of the solar cars produced in Bochum offers space for four people, representing a big step toward everyday practicality. Ride comfort is ensured among other things by four internally developed hub motors made of electrical steel and compact dampers designed like those used in motorsport which can be controlled manually by the driver. Finally, five square meters of solar panels collect sufficient solar energy. But there is also a plug to enable recharging from the mains in case the sun doesn’t shine.
Features similar to a conventional vehicle
Distance warning system, central locking, info display, heated seats – the list of the blue.cruiser’s features reads like that of a conventionally powered sports car. With a top speed of 120 kilometers per hour the vehicle may be somewhat slower than gasoline-powered competitors but what matters more in the World Solar Challenge in Australia this fall is not speed, but rather efficiency – and this is where the blue.cruiser has a very good chance of beating off competitors over the 3,000 kilometer course.
What happens next
After the roll-out celebrations in Bochum, the blue.cruiser will undergo further rigorous testing: further trials at the thyssenkrupp site in Dortmund, a visit to the wind tunnel in Stuttgart, and a test drive by thyssenkrupp CEO Heinrich Hiesinger at the headquarters in Essen. The first important materials will begin their journey to Australia in a container at the end of July. At the end of August the team members will then fly Down Under with their solar car to prepare the thyssenkrupp blue.cruiser for the challenge ahead.
Bochum University has been building solar cars for 15 years
Bochum University has been designing and building solar-powered electric vehicles for 15 years and is the only university in Germany to do so. In 2012 one of its solar cars circumnavigated the globe on solar power alone and holds the Guinness record for the longest journey by a solar electric vehicle (29,753 kilometers). The thyssenkrupp blue.cruiser is the seventh solar vehicle to come out of Bochum.
World Solar Challenge every two years in Australia
The World Solar Challenge takes place in Australia every two years and is run on public roads bisecting the continent from north to south. The thyssenkrupp blue.cruiser will compete in the cruiser class – which is named after one of the Bochum vehicles – where the regulations stipulate practicality, a roadworthiness certificate in the country of origin and at least two seats. In addition to the energy recovered during driving from the solar panels mounted on the vehicle, cars in this class may also be recharged from the mains. The cars will hit top speeds of over 120 kilometers per hour. The challenge begins on October 8, 2017 and the participants are expected to reach the finish line in Adelaide six days later.