Real adventures still exist! With a monohull - that's what the single-seater racing car is called - designed and built by the students themselves, they'll cover 3000 kilometres across the Australian outback. Powered only by the energy of the sun.
This is the adventure that αCentauri Solar Racing, or aCe for short, a team of ETH engineering students will be embarking on. The students are one of 47 international teams competing in the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge as part of their focus project.
Karim Bingoel, who is part of the aCe leadership and organisation team, says: "Our success is based on pushing current technological boundaries in close collaboration with industry and academia. With this credo, Bingoel says, aCe aims not only to finish, but to win the Challenger Class if possible. This is the racing class for single driver cars.
Although the car is not yet assembled, and key components for the solar car are only gradually arriving at the workshop in Zurich's Technopark, the students are confident. The race car is due to start in Australia in October. The solar racer will roll across the starting line in Darwin and hopefully reach the finish line in Adelaide, 3000 kilometres away.
The challenges facing the team between now and autumn are immense. They range from sophisticated aerodynamics to air conditioning for the cramped cockpit. After all, the best car is no use if the driver collapses under the scorching Australian sun. Particular attention has been paid to the solar panels. They need to be as efficient as possible. The aim is to both power the car and store energy in the battery. This is the only way aCe will be able to continue driving early in the morning after the mandatory overnight break. It is forbidden to recharge the battery at a charging station during the race. Another challenge is the suspension. It has to be robust and compress gently. After all, the roads in the middle of nowhere are sometimes bumpy. The aCe team, made up of 40 students, is tackling all these challenges in small project teams. In this way, the Swiss solar racer will be completed on time.
Syslogic is supporting aCe with electronic components for vehicle control. Raphael Binder, CEO of Syslogic, says: "We are delighted to be involved with αCentauri. This way, he says, Syslogic can make a small contribution to advancing the use of solar technology in vehicles
We will report on the progress of the race on this blog in October.