TU Delft Team Wins International Solar Car Challenge
Shane Laros posted on November 16, 2016 |
Dutch student team sets a new world record with their Nuna 8S.

While solar cells have made an impact with use on roofs and in parking lots, it may be easy to forget engineers have been using them to power cars for awhile.

While a fully solar powered car isn’t practical for mass production, or useful in picking up groceries from the store, they do serve a purpose as projects for engineering students to get hands-on technical experience and the chance to put their knowledge to the test.

The Sasol Solar Challenge is one of these opportunities, pitting international teams against each other as they drive their vehicles across the varied, beautiful and sometimes harsh landscape of South Africa.

This year the Challenge was won by the Nuon Solar team from the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, with their car the Nuna 8S.

Nuon Solar Team’s Nuna 8S. (Image courtesy of Sasol Solar Challenge.)
Nuon Solar Team’s Nuna 8S. (Image courtesy of Sasol Solar Challenge.)

Covering more than 4,000km and running over 8 days, the Sasol event proved quite challenging for the Nuon team. After having faced an early crash during a test run, and another during the second day of racing, they also had to content with strong winds and even some interactions with police during the race.

But the TU Delft team persisted, and won the race with a scant 175 km gap between the Nuna 8S and the second-place team from Japan.

Teamwork is an essential part of overcoming these obstacles, explained team manager Sjoerd Stevens, "In the past year we have focused especially on the functioning of our team and the various roles that each person plays in it. We are now reaping the benefits of that work."

The Sasol Solar challenge is intended to encourage young people to achieve success in STEM subjects, while promoting collaboration, teamwork and experience in business. Not only do students get to see their hard work manifested in the world, but they can compete against some of the best and brightest minds in engineering.

For more information visit TU Delft online or check out the Sasol Solar Challenge list of competitors.

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