Solar Team Twente presented its new solar car, with which they will participate in the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge in October this year. The usually green heart of Twente, the Koninklijke Grolsch, turned red for a few hours. In the presence of the partners of the team, the tenth solar car was presented: RED X.
Innovating a winning design
At first glance, RED X resembles its predecessor RED Horizon. Most notably the "monohull" or "bullet" shape. Nevertheless, the team has made a number of changes to the new solar car. Lead Engineer Jessica Bos: “Last year we built a monohull for the first time and it actually went very well. There are many advantages to be gained from this, especially in the aerodynamic area, so we have chosen to further optimize this. And since the previous team had designed a very good monohull, the devil is in the details this year. But make no mistake, because there is also a lot to be gained there.” The team does not yet want to explain the exact changes. “Of course we shouldn't make our competition any wiser than necessary,” adds Technical Team Manager Tim Woertman with a wink.
Plenty of challenges
During the presentation, the audience was talked through some of the design challenges the solar team has faced during their first six months. A number of technical team members explained how compromises in the design had to be worked on despite conflicting interests. For example, one of the sub-teams would very much like to have the largest possible surface for the solar panel. This large surface generates a lot of income from the sun and therefore energy to power the solar car. On the other hand, other team members are concerned with aerodynamic design to ensure that the shape is as efficient as possible and no unnecessary energy is wasted, a large panel size actually makes it more difficult for them to achieve their goal. In RED X, all these dilemmas have been carefully considered and included in the final design.
On International Women's Day, the team also put the spotlight on ‘ELS’, the abbreviation of the sub-team that is mainly concerned with the electronic systems in the car. They also face design challenges. Several intelligent systems have already been devised for this in the past, which, very appropriately, also all bear a woman's name. The teams ‘secret weapons’ are called Daphne, Vivianne and Jasmine. This last lady, the self-developed motor controller, played a major role in the victory during Solar Challenge Morocco. A motor controller is a standard part of a passenger car and ensures that the current flows properly through the motor. The electric motor provides the rotating force that moves the car forward at the correct speed. Once again this year, all systems will be further developed to achieve strategic advantages during the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge.
Despite the fact that a lot has been innovated in such a short period of time for Solar Team Twente's newest solar car, the team has even bigger plans. "Aerodynamically, but especially in electronics, there are great opportunities where we can achieve large benefits. There are so many great ideas to take up, but unfortunately it doesn't fit within the year and a half that we can spend on designing and building the solar car. In addition, the risk is too great to really focus on these major innovations, because you don't know in advance whether something will work," says Team Leader Kirsten Bouwman.
What the name RED X means for the team was also explained by Bouwman: “This is of course the tenth edition of Solar Team Twente, the tenth time that a team of motivated students is committed to innovating in the field of sustainable mobility. X also symbolizes the four disciplines within our team that, despite all the challenges, come together to a central point. Everything presented today by the team is with our goal in mind. To be the first to cross the finish line with the tenth solar car of Solar Team Twente in the tenth month of the year. We are going to do all of it with RED X.”
About Solar Team Twente
Solar Team Twente consists of twenty students from Saxion University of Applied Sciences and the University of Twente. In addition to the students, the solarteam consists of a strong network of more than 160 partners. Together the solar team practices top sport and they build the most efficient solar car in the world. The team believes in the motto “Challenge triggers innovation”. That is why Solar Team Twente will participate in the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge in October 2023. On the one hand with the aim of winning the race and on the other hand to create attention for the possibilities of solar energy.