Today, the Belgian Solar Team has presented its new solar car. The 21 KU Leuven engineering students, together with 140 partners, Punch being the lead partner have worked on it for over a year. The car is lighter, smaller and just as fast as its predecessor.
On October 8th, the team and their brand new solar vehicle will be at the start of the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge – a tour of more than 3000 kilometres straight through Australia. They will compete against 50 other solar cars from all over the world. While the team finished fifth last time, this year it is absolutely going for the win with the Punch Two.
The Punch Powertrain Solar Team is the only Belgian Solar Team that entered for the first time in 2005. Ever since, the team has won numerous prizes including the innovation prize. This year, a number of technological innovations were used in the car as well, to give the team an advantage against their top rivals such as the TU Delft teams, TU Twente and Tokai.
For the newest car, the Punch Two, we strived for balance between performance and reliability. The car only weighs 145kg, is a lot smaller than its predecessor and can drive up to 600km without recharge. The Solar Team combines the best leading edge technology into one highly efficient solar car which means that Punch Two is a large step up from Punch One.
Catamaran model chosen out of 500 computer models
The shape of the solar car largely determines its total consumption. To design the car as small as possible, the team made 3D scans of the pilot and built the new solar car around him. Ultimately, from +500 models and by using simulation, the model with the lowest air resistance came out best.
All components lighter and stronger
The carbon body has been designed to proficiently absorb forces in the allocated places making the chassis 40% lighter weighing in at only 30kg. With its 145kg, the solar car is about 10 times lighter than a regular car.
From production team to race team
One innovation point this year is the transformation from production team to race team. Now that the car is ready, all functions within the team change. We have racing practice and practice for all possible situations that could occur during a race.
Encouraging young people towards technology
The Punch Powertrain Solar Team wants to accomplish more than victory itself. It wants to motivate young students for a future in technology. Each year, they organise the Solar Olympics, an event for all high schools to participate. The teams are challenged to develop a gadget or little race car. The top 30 teams get the opportunity to defend their design on the final day on Group T Campus.