Two Dutch University Teams unveil Solar Cars for the Australian World Solar Challenge (Dutch Design 46)

World Solar Challenge 2009

Two Dutch University Teams have unveiled their new solar cars for the 2009 Australian World Solar Challenge (the 10th Challenge).

The WSC runs over 3,000 km from Darwin in North Australia to Adelaide in South Australia. The start will be on October 25, 2009.

Nuon Solar Team of TU Delft

The Nuon Solar Team consisting of 14 undergraduates from TU (Technical University) Delft, led by coach Wubbo Ockels, the only Dutch Astronaut, here left on the photo, have unveiled their entry for the unofficial world championship for solar cars. Nuna5 is ready for the team’s 5th title!

As the Nuon Solar Team has won 4 prior editions, their competitors will be putting every effort in beating them in this challenge. At first glance it seems that the Nuna5 is a further development of proven technology as could be found in its predecessor Nuna4

Twente University Solar Car Team
Twente University Solar Car Team Solar Team Twente will probably be one of the closest competitors of the Nuon Solar Car Team. Here is a video animation of it’s 2009 solar car:

They have refined two innovations of their former model: The cantilever wing design that enables them to turn the wing with solar cells to the sun and the Fresnel lenses to get more sun rays on the solar cells.

Some WSC History
To me it seems very odd that the “Official WSC Site” gives hardly any information about the 2009 edition.


The event evolved from an experiment by Danish-born adventurer Hans Tholstrup who, sponsored by BP, designed the world’s first solar car, called Quiet Achiever, in which he completed the BP Solar Trek, traversing the 4052 km (2,518 miles) between Sydney and Perth in 20 days. That was the precursor of the World Solar Challenge originally held every three years to one held every two years.

After the 4th race Hans Tholstrup sold the rights to the state of South Australia (source World Solar Challenge Wiki).

Results from the former editions:

  1. 1987
    1st Place General Motors “Sunraycer” (USA) average speed 66.9 Km/h
    2nd Place Ford Australia “Sunchaser” (AUS) average speed 44.48 Km/h
    3rd Place Biel College of Engineering (CH) average speed 42.93 Km/h
  2. 1990
    1st Place Biel College of Engineering (CH) average speed 65.18 Km/h
    2nd Place Honda “Dream” (Japan) average speed 54.67 Km/h
    3rd Place University of Michigan (USA) average Speed 52.53 Km/h
  3. 1993
    1st Place Honda “Dream” (Japan) average Speed 84.96 Km/h
    2nd Place Biel College of Engineering (CH) average speed 78.27 Km/h
    3rd Place Kyocera “Son of Sun” (Japan) average speed 70.76 Km/h
  4. 1996
    1st Place Honda “Dream II” (Japan) average speed 89.76 Km/h
    2nd Place United High Schools of Biel (CH) average speed 86 Km/h
    3rd Place Aisin Seiki “Aisol III” average speed 80.7 Km/h
  5. 1999
    1st Place Aurora “Aurora 101” (AUS) average speed 72.96 Km/h
    2nd Place Queens university “Radiance” (CAN) average speed 72.17 Km/h
    3rd Place University of Queensland “Sunshark” (AUS) average speed 71.68 Km/h
  6. 2001
    1st Place Nuna “Alpha Centauri” (NL) average speed 91.81 Km/h
    2nd Place Aurora “Aurora 101” (AUS) average speed 90.26 Km/h
    3rd Place University of Michigan (USA) average speed average speed 87.37 Km/h
  7. 2003
    1st Place Nuon “Nuna II” (NL) average speed 97.02 Km/h
    2nd Place Aurora “Aurora 101” (AUS) average speed 91.90 Km/h
    3rd Place MIT “Tesseract” (USA) average speed 90.20 Km/h
  8. 2005
    1st Place Nuon “Nuna III” (NL) average speed 102.75 Km/h
    2nd Place Aurora “Aurora 101” (AUS) average speed 92.03 Km/h
    3rd Place University of Michigan “Momentum” (USA) average speed 90.03 Km/h
  9. 2007 (NB lower average speeds due to 25% smaller solar panels)
    1st Place Nuon “Nuna 4” (NL) average speed 90.87 Km/h
    2nd Place Umicore “Umicar Infinity” (Belgium) average speed 88.05 Km/h
    3rd Place Aurora “Aurora 101” (Australia) average speed 85 Km/h

A New Name: Global Green Challenge:
Ah….It turns out there is a new site and a new name on the block which gives much more information: The Global Green Challenge. Apparently the event has evolved. This is the new logo:

Global Green Challenge Logo

Here is their list of 2009 participants

Some links for future reference:
German Team Bochum Hochschule will compete with a more car alike 4 wheel solar car
Belgian Umicore Solar Car Team will unveil their new car August 1, 2009
The Wiki List of Solar Car Teams was handy for researching this post.

A general Solar Cars site.

I believe that all parties involved have a task in bettering their communication. Teams involved communicate in their local languages and there are many loose ends.

Dutch Design (38): Pimp your Mini Rooftop

Probably you all have seen the Ipod design for the Mini Rooftop. I Love it!

You might also know Mini offers an on line tool to Design Your Own Mini Roof Top. Unfortunately it is not possible to add your own image or logo in this tool. In the USA there is another Mini site: Roofstudio. However, I cannot get it working even after downloading the correct shockwave version to check if you can add your own design….I’m yet too busy to try it in photoshop, but I might.

Anyway, a Dutch Mini Website Top of Mini has held a competition for designers up to the age of 30 and recently announced the winners. I would like to share a few with you that I particularly like, some of them are winners, some not:

The winner and also my first choice is the one with the typical Checkered Dutch linnen or cotton pattern known under the name “Boerenbont” (i.e. something as “Checkered Farmer’s” see for more info in English Babylon). I don’t doubt this pattern is known elsewhere, as Dutch Merchants seem having it introduced almost everywhere. I certainly do like the association with the checkered flag that was used on many original Mini.

My second choice is the Knitted Dutch Flag. I have already predicted that in the direct future we are on out way back to knitting under the present economic down slide.

My third choice is the Google Map Mini. Almost impossible to make a stronger statement. Satellites know to find you.

Talking about maps: This one is very Dutch with a map of The Netherlands 1:300,000 on its roof.

Also very Dutch is this Delft Blue tiles design. Delft Blue is still an very touristy item for Dutch export. The Royal Delft Factory is worth a visit and attracts many visitors annually. And do you see that when you click? There is also a Marcel Wanders collection for sale.

There is also a Traffic Jammed British Flag nicely referring both to the British legacy of the Mini and the horrible daily Dutch traffic jams.

There are many more, but maybe another time.

via Dutch Design on the Road

Dutch Design (22): Dutch Solar Car Nuna4 has won the Australian World Solar Challenge

I Love Nuna4

Unofficially, according to a comment on its Blog, confirmed by a post on the official WSC Blog, Dutch Nuna4 has won the World Solar Challenge.

They arrived at Port Augusta at 16.54 hr local time, just 6 minutes before closing time of the control and finished the official timed stretch of the race. The Port Augusta to Adelaide (where the official finish is) leg seems not to count as a timed part of the race, as the leg has too much traffic and racing would be too dangerous.

The Nuon sponsored Delft Technical University Team rules the waves (err the sun rays) as this is the fourth consecutive win on a row of this biannual challenge.

Apparently they did not beat the team’s prior average speed record, because they met more clouds and rain under way.

Now I am curious if they will consider competing in a solar car race in the United States of America, for instance the 2008 American Solar Challenge, a 2400 mile race from Dallas, Texas to Calgary, Alberta.

To be updated.

Update 1) It seems the servers of the various sites are groaning under heavy traffic……

Dutch Design (21): Solar Car Nuna4 in the Lead of Australian World Solar Challenge

Solar Challenge

With this magnificent photo that I pinched from the Panasonic World Solar Challenge site today, I’ll give you a short update after 3 days of racing and a rest day in Alice Springs:

  1. Nuna4 of the Nuon Solar Team (Delft, Netherlands) with 756 km to go to the finish in Adelaide
  2. Umicore Solar Team (Belgium) roughly 82 km (60 minutes) behind Nuna4
  3. Aurora Vehicle Association Team (Australia), 90 minutes behind Nuna4
  4. FH Bochum Solar Car Team (Germany)

It is a pity that the organization is so scarce with giving proper information. I believe there is a lot of interest for multimedia coverage of this race, but alas not much to be found…..For instance in the Volvo Ocean sailing races and in the America’s Cup match sailing races we can follow the races in real time in our armchair behind the computer while each competitor has a camera and a GPS tracking device mounted on their yachts. Same is the case with the World Rally Championships.

Very sadly the US competitor of the University of Michigan, the Continuum of UM Solar Car Team, due to an accident are way, 11 hours and 24 minutes according to their Blog, behind Nuna4, but they seem to gain now.

Delft: Ikea Hotel under Golden Tulip label

Ikea Tulip Inn

The Delft Ikea shop is able to produce traffic congestions on the motorway on its own. To my knowledge it is the only shop with its own motorway junction here in The Netherlands.

Ikea has expanded the shop and will establish a center of excellence. That will serve as a pilot for new concepts and products and as training center for Ikea workers from all over the world. They need a hotel for all those students.

As a small aside: Approximately 25 years ago my wife bought curtains from the first Ikea shop in The Netherlands that they closed in the meantime. The same lady who then sold the curtains to my wife still works for Ikea, but now in Delft, and recently sold curtains to my wife for a friend’s baby room. Speaking of employee’s loyalty….

Contrary to Shell that operates its coworker/student hotel itself behind the facade of its head office here in The Hague, Ikea has outsourced management of the new hotel to the Golden Tulip Group.

Last week the groundbreaking ceremony was held. Usually that means in the low lands to drive a long pole into the ground that will form part of the building’s fundament.

The Ikea/Tulip Inn with 140 rooms is scheduled to open December 2008.