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Saturday, December 29, 2007

Riding with the sun

Delft University Team Wins Solar-powered Car Competition

ScienceDaily (Oct. 27, 2007) — The Nuon Solar Team were first past the finish, crossing the line at exactly 16:55 local time. This means that the Nuna4 has now won the World Solar Challenge for the fourth time running. The final day of the race went well, with only one tire change. The vehicle completed the final leg of 760 km in just eight hours.

Nuon solar car from Delft University won the Panasonic World Solar Challenge in Australia. (Credit: Source: Panasonic World Solar Challenge, Photogapher: Hans-Peter van Velthoven)

The eleven Delft students who make up the Nuon Solar Team tested their new solar-powered car, Nuna4, at the Daf circuit in Sint-Oedenrode. The practice helped the team’s drivers win the Panasonic World Solar Challenge.

The new car’s predecessor, Nuna3, and others of its type have now proven beyond doubt that it is possible to cross 3000 kilometres of Australia on solar power alone.

Last year the Nuna3 more than matched speed of an ordinary car. In so doing, it reached the original target set by the organisers of the World Solar Challenge. That is why they have decided to add new elements to the competition.

From now on, the solar-powered vehicles have to meet specifications closer to those of a normal family car. And they must run on fewer solar panels. But the students have risen to the challenge, designing and building a new car from scratch to comply with the revised rules.

How does the new car differ from last year's Nina3?

  • Its solar panel is smaller, measuring 6m2 instead of 9m2. This means that it will be slower than its predecessor. It is also smaller than Nuna3.
  • The driver sits almost upright. In previous Nuna cars he was lying down.
  • The driver is protected not only by a tough canopy, but also by roll bars and a helmet.
  • Nuna4 has a steering wheel. Previous versions were steered by levers.
  • Nuna4 is higher. That makes it frontal surface area rather bigger, but the consequences of that are partially offset by even better aerodynamics.

Adapted from materials provided by Delft University Of Technology.

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