Engineering Headlines

Bochum solar car is ready to go!

WSC 2017 in Australia

The Bochum University of Applied Sciences is presenting a hybrid with solar cells, an electromotor and seats made of pineapple leather.

The Thyssenkrupp Blue Cruiser would have even received a road permit, even if it would not need it at all.

Five square meters of solar cells on a cut four seated that is the seventh solar vehicle of the Bochum University of Applied Sciences.

Together with its cooperation partner Thyssenkrupp, the 60 students would like to compete at the World Solar Challenge (WSC) in Australia.

For a pure solar is not enough

The car, which the students now presented to the public, waits with some peculiarities.

The most striking feature is surely the five square meters of solar cells that cover the entire surface of the car and look like painted. “The cells are laminated, which makes them very flexible and ideally follow the contour of the car,” explains Stefan Spychalski.

So they do not really matter after all, every gram counts.

Although the blue cruiser is coated with a special coating of micro prisms for the lowest possible reflection, the sun’s energy is not sufficient to bring the car the 3,000-kilometer stretch from the northern Darwin across Australia to Adelaide.

It is too difficult for this, which in turn is due to road admissions. The Blue Cruiser is therefore a solar-electric hybrid, it is allowed to fill up during the race in Australia.

On the other hand, competitors of the racing car starter class in which a team from Aachen under the German flag start for the first time are specially designed to cover the 3,000 km track exclusively with the aid of solar energy.

And students from Eindhoven have already demonstrated their vision of a family friendly solar car.

The Thyssenkrupp Blue Cruiser is carrying Piñatex

Another special feature of the new solar-electric hybrid is found inside. The car seats are not made from tanned animal skin, but from Piñatex, a leather substitute made from pineapple leaves.

This biorohost is used in the harvesting of pineapples, but the bulk of the waste has been landfilled. Even if some companies experiment with pineapple leather.

A research project for sustainability

The fact that so many alternative materials and materials are used is in the nature of the matter.

The solar vehicle project has been committed to sustainability. “If we are talking about sustainable cars at the moment, it is mostly about consumption,” Spychalski contends.

“In some cases, the production of cars or recycling is very problematic, for example, in the currently very popular building material carbon fiber.” In Bochum, the students do not only think theoretically, they also try to convert as much as possible into their solar cars.

What is certain is that the solar car is not the vehicle of the future, with which we will go shopping in forty years – not even through Australian solar trails.

Although the solar vehicles driving the WSC have to pass a safety test and the Bochum car is striving for road approval every year, the solar car is primarily a research project.

“In reality, a solar cell on a car can only deliver a very low energy input, while the consumption cannot be minimized at will,” says Spychalski.

The automobile of the future, he believes, will therefore not be solar, but electric cars with solar energy support.

Even if he does not bring it to the everyday car, the Thyssenkrupp Blue Cruiser still has a lot in front.

After all, the footsteps into which he is to enter are powerful.

A predecessor model of the University of Bochum from 2012 holds the world record for the longest solar powered route.

The model SolarWorld GT came 29,753 kilometers without having to recharge

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