NUNAX WILL BE SAILING ON THE AUSTRALIAN WIND
EARLIER THIS MONTH, THE VATTENFALL SOLAR TEAM UNVEILED ITS LATEST SOLAR CAR, THE NUNAX. THE TENTH SOLAR CAR MADE IN DELFT IS NOT ONLY SMALLER, LIGHTER AND MORE EFFICIENT, BUT COMES WITH A SECRET WEAPON: THE CAR IS DESIGNED TO USE THE WIND TO GAIN MORE SPEED. AOC ALIANCYS PROVIDED HANDS-ON SUPPORT DURING VEHICLE MANUFACTURING AND SUPPLIED BEYONE™ STYRENE-FREE RESINS FOR MAKING CONSTRUCTION AND SHELL.
After more than a year of design and construction, it is finally finished: NunaX, the latest self-built solar race car from the Vattenfall Solar Team. This is a milestone for the team members, all of whom are students at Delft University of Technology and are putting their studies on hold for at least 18 months to participate in the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge in Australia. On July 16th the car was presented at a celebratory event at the Amsterdome in Amsterdam.
With the new NunaX, the student team is hoping to win the world title for the eighth time at the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge in Australia, to be held in October.
INNOVATION MAKES THE DIFFERENCE
Although the Vattenfall Solar Team has already won the solar racing world championship seven times, the challenge is as great as ever. Technical Manager Bruno Martens: "The rules for solar racing have barely changed in recent years. In the earliest races, the cars were sometimes very different, but we are seeing now that teams copy each other and the cars look more and more alike. This makes innovation more important than ever – the smart touches make the difference.”
ENERGY FROM BOTH THE SUN AND WIND
Fortunately, innovation is in the DNA of the Vattenfall Solar Team. In the previous edition, the students from Delft won thanks to an innovative smaller car, and the expectation is that many competitors will follow suite this year. The team members from Delft have managed to make their new car slightly lighter, smaller and more efficient than before. Weighing just 133 kg, it appears to be the smallest and lightest car ever. A small wing has also been attached to the car, positioned to allow the panels on the wing to catch as much sunlight as possible.
The team's main hope centres around the aerodynamic design. Bruno: "During the previous race, we discovered that the small Nuna9 benefited enormously from the strong side-wind that we always have in southern Australia. It's a little like the way a sailboat is driven by the wind. For this edition, we have given specific attention to this in our design. The canopy and the wheel shrouds are shaped to give the car a sort of extra push in a side-wind. For this car, we are using both solar energy and a little bit of wind energy."