Solar-Sportscoupé to touch
mobility of the future | Today is the day: thyssenkrupp and Bochum University are presenting their thyssenkrupp blue.cruiser, the third joint solar car from their successful research collaboration. And the prototype has a lot to offer:
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.