The Nuon Solar Team has won the Sasol Solar Challenge 2016 in South Africa, finishing an impressive 173 kilometers ahead of the runner up.
Their Nuna8s car, containing resins from Aliancys, and built using Aliancys composite technology, travelled from Pretoria to Cape Town, South Africa, entirely on solar power.
Aliancys explains, the Sasol Solar Challenge South Africa started on 24th September 2016: an eight day solar race from Pretoria to Cape Town, South Africa. The Nuon Solar Team participated with the Nuna8s solar vehicle, an upgraded version the Nuna8 that won the World Solar Challenge Australia in 2016. The team of Delft University of Technology drove a total of 4717 kilometers, breaking the current world record of most kilometers driven in a solar race.
According to Aliancys, the race wasn’t an easy one for the Nuon Solar Team. Just one week before taking off to South Africa, their solar car crashed on a test course. Fortunately, the car could be fixed in time after a full week of repair work. However, on the second day of the race Nuna crashed against a wall and damaged its nose. In the following days, the team experienced a lot of trouble because of the hard wind and the students were stopped by the police for inspection.
“The team succeeded to reach pole position in the race in spite of all these unexpected circumstances,” explains Sjoerd Stevens, Team Manager of the Nuon Solar Team. “I believe this is mostly because of the excellent collaboration in the team. While working on optimising our Nuna8s in the past year, we also focused a lot on how we can work together as one seamless team. This has proven to make the difference!”
Aliancys explains that the Nuna8s shell was fabricated using its Daron resins optimised for use with TexTreme carbon fibre, resulting in a stiff, strong, yet lightweight vehicle. Because of their close-to-zero smell and solvent emissions, Daron resins are an environmentally preferred alternative to conventional styrene-based resin systems.
After winning the 2015 World Solar Challenge in Australia, the vehicle was further improved for the Sasol Solar Challenge 2016. The changes included the addition of structural elements required for driver safety, and an optimisation of motor capabilities to better climb the steep South African mountains. Here again the light weight of the composite construction helped to get the maximum power out of the vehicle.
“Just like Formula 1, the Sasol Solar Challenge is a test environment for the cars of the future,” comments Paul Vercoulen, CTO of Aliancys. “By taking part in this race with the Nuna8s, Aliancys adds to its knowledge about the use of our materials. We are very happy about the Nuon Solar Team winning again in this challenging race. They kept their heads cool even when the heat was on. Congratulations to the team for achieving this great result!”