Co-sponsored by Nord Drivesystems, the Solar Energy Racers team will participate in the 2011 World Solar Challenge, an extreme long-distance race that will cut right through the Central Australian desert during the next Australian spring. The race for vehicles powered only by solar energy will start in Darwin on the north coast on October 16th, 2011. The contestants will cross about 3,000 kilometers of almost deserted outback before reaching their destination in the southern metropolis of Adelaide.
The organization behind the Solar Energy Racers is the Bühler Renewable Energy Association. The team builds an aerodynamically optimized prototype with a single driver’s seat. Featuring a brushless wheel hub motor with 2 kW rated power, the three-wheeled vehicle (two front wheels, one back wheel) will run at an average speed of approx. 80 kmph. The chassis and body construction is of light-weight carbon-fiber-reinforced polymer (CFRP) with 6 m² of the surface covered with monocrystalline silicon cells which convert solar energy with more than 20 % efficiency. A lithium-ion battery is used to store energy. The organizers, participants, and sponsors of this spectacular race all wish to promote the awareness of the great potential of renewable energies. At the same time, the project demonstrates the feasibility of innovative technological and ecological concepts.