World Solar Challenge: SunRiser leading with style
This year, thyssenkrupp sponsored a Cruiser Class solar car, the thyssenkrupp SunRiser, to compete in a gruelling 3,000 kilometres race from Darwin to Adelaide from 18-25 October. Coming in third in the overall challenge, the SunRiser was also commended for having the best practicability. Read on to find out how we shone in the competition.
As the SunRiser crossed the finish line and arrived in Adelaide on Saturday, 24 October, the crowd cheered and applauded. In one of the most closely fought contests on record, the sleek SunRiser came in third for the World Solar Challenge 2015 with an overall score of 83.39%, behind the Japanese and Dutch. All cars were judged on the key criteria of solar kilometres travelled; passenger kilometres; speed; energy efficiency; and a subjective element of design and practicality. 70% of points were awarded based on the trip completion time, 20% on a dynamic practicality test and 10% awarded to a static practicality test. The reverse park was particularly difficult for most of the challengers, but the SunRiser easily completed the challenge by using the reversing cameras to great effect. Of the top three, the jury commended the SunRiser’s practicability and commercial value.
For two years, thyssenkrupp and Bochum University of Applied Science engaged in a joint research project to develop a practical, safe and reliable solar sports car. A 40-strong Bochum University of Applied Science team travelled to Australia to work on the strategy, driving, maintenance and logistics for the race. They braved the extreme 37 degrees Celsius day time temperatures, cold desert nights, persistent outback flies and hungry mosquitoes.
The harsh race environment and outback conditions also challenged the students to learn how to work under pressure to achieve excellent results. “The race was an amazing experience. We did not encounter any major difficulties; the car functions were technically impeccable. Besides technical considerations and the driving, there is so much more going on. Our team members took care of setting up the campsites, did the catering, logistics, and so on – we honor the support of each and every one of them. This was an overall success for the whole team!” said Matthias Wiemers, project lead of the Bochum Solar Car Team.
The SunRiser was indeed a crowd pleaser, drawing a lot of interest with many asking when the car would be available for purchase. The SunRiser design was initially based on an American muscle car but the students had finessed the design to be a contemporary sports car that certainly appealed to the public. The innovation and practical inclusions set the car apart. “The SunRiser is very stable at speed, capable of achieving a top speed of 120 kilometres per hour,” explained Stefan Spychalski from the Bochum University of Applied Science.
Kudos to Stefan Spychalski and his team for shining through this competition! We’re definitely looking forward to see what’s next in the World Solar Challenge 2016!
This article was contributed by our Australian colleague Chris Coulson and edited by the Corporate Communications team.