Solar race car for the World Solar Challenge

The student team Sonnenwagen Aachen e. V. needs an ultra-light solar racing vehicle to participate in the World Solar Challenge, the toughest solar race in the world. The race takes teams from all over the world 3022 km across the Australian continent – powered only by solar energy. The Aachen team already impressed at the race in October 2019 – finishing sixth out of more than 40 competing teams. At the next race, the students want to finish even earlier and optimize their solar car. The race car must again be one of the lightest, most efficient and at the same time fastest next time. In addition to optimizing the electric powertrain, the areas of aerodynamics and lightweight construction will play a key role.

Team Sonnenwagen e.V

The Covestro Photon is the third solar racing car with which the students have been able to take many further innovative steps.

Optimal aerodynamic design is essential for an efficiency race. While the Covestro Sonnenwagen 2 was built in an arrow shape, the Covestro Photon is more like a catamaran. Both shapes are designed to be maximally aerodynamic. In addition, the Covestro Photon has only 3 wheels, which meant a completely new design of the chassis for the students.

One of the most extreme challenges of the Solar Challenge Morocco was the 12000 meters of altitude you had to cover. For the inclines involved, the drivetrain requires twice as much torque compared to the Covestro Sonnenwagen 2, which only had to travel 700 meters in altitude over the 3000 km course. At the same time, the Covestro Photon is powered by the more environmentally friendly silicon solar cells.

Team Sonnenwagen e.V

Team Sonnenwagen e.V

Team Sonnenwagen set up its workshop in the Ramp-Up Factory and used the workshop infrastructure, expertise and space in the Ramp-Up Factory:

To manufacture the carbon outer shell of the race car, the students used the machines in the Ramp-Up Factory. Carbon fiber composite materials offer an optimum ratio of the structural stiffness to be achieved and the resulting weight. For this reason, they are used in lightweight construction applications such as aviation or racing. Using the portal milling machine, the team fabricated negatives from large plastic blocks onto which the carbon fiber mats were draped and impregnated with epoxy resin. After the composite material cured, the finished outer shell was separated from the milled mold.