On the 2nd August, Team Sonnenwagen unveiled its latest solar powered race car via a live streamed event.
The new car, called the Covestro Photon Sonnenwagen, has been designed to not only incorporate the technological learnings from previous race teams but critically, a number of rule changes required by the new international race in Morocco.
These included the use of just three wheels and the requirement to be able to place a dummy of up to 2m in height in one of the car seats.
Along with the need to make ‘the Photon’ as aerodynamic and energy efficient as possible, these rule changes presented the team with a number of new challenges. These were also compounded by the need for team members - many of them new to the project - to work from home due to the pandemic.
These working conditions and new rules brought into even sharper focus the vital role played by the technology and software, which meant team members were able to produce computer models that explored and tested a whole range of options, design ideas and different test conditions … all without having to leave their desks.
More than 250,000 software hours were clocked up as the team wrestled with the requirements – representing a fantastic team effort and proof that collaboration can work successfully even if you are all working remotely.
Here at BayWa r.e., we’re excited about the two races that are coming up which will give Sonnenwagen a chance to test the new car in earnest, pitting its design and technology against the very best solar-powered race vehicles in the world.
First, in September, is the iLumen European Solar Challenge, the only 24-hour endurance race in the world for solar cars, which takes place at the former Circuit Zolder F1 track in Belgium.
This will be followed by the main event, Solar Challenge Morocco 2021. Run over five days, across 2,500km from Agadir in the south, across to the foothills of Atlas Mountains and the edge of the Sahara and back again, this is going to be a huge test for the 45-strong team.
The team will be up against cars designed and developed by the world’s leading technical universities, and we can’t wait!
The students will spend a few days acclimatising to local weather conditions and putting ‘the Covestro Photon’ Sonnenwagen car through its paces under race conditions before participating in qualifying rounds – and all being well – lining up for the starter’s flag on October 25th.
We will be following the team every step of the way and wish them luck!