- Testing the solar car’s aerodynamic properties
- The car’s air resistance is similar to that of a cola bottle.
Solar Team Twente tested a solar car’s aerodynamic properties in a wind tunnel for the first time in years. “We previously used a scale model for tests in the wind tunnel, but the actual car went in there today. Wind tunnel tests show us whether the airflow is behaving as calculated”, says Jeroen Minnema, Solar Team Twente’s aerodynamic expert. The team put the car in different configurations and determined in which configuration the car experiences the least air resistance.
The tests showed that the RED Shift has a very low air resistance, similar to that of a cola bottle. “The results are better than expected, giving us even more confidence in the quality of our car. The aerodynamic resistance has been significantly reduced compared to the RED One”, says Minnema. RED one is the solar car that almost won the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge in 2015.
The team expects that they have produced a robust aerodynamic design. “We used the best materials and knowledge for every single part of our car. It gives us winning techniques as a result, which together form the best solar car. The aerodynamic design of our car is one of these winning techniques, this is evident from today’s tests”, says Lars Klein, Technical Manager of Solar Team Twente.
One of the reasons why the air resistance has been considerably reduced is because the RED Shift has become half a metre narrower compared to the RED One. This change stems from the modifications in the regulations. The maximum allowed surface of the solar panel has been reduced from 6 to 4 square metres. The RED Shift is the narrowest car that Solar Team Twente has ever made; it is only 90 centimetres wide. There have also been many other improvements to the design. The team expects that these will make a big difference during the race in Australia.
Solar Team Twente will participate in the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge on October 8, 2017: the prestigious and well-known race for cars that are powered by solar energy. Solar Team Twente, and over fifty other participants, will drive their solar car 3000 kilometres through the outback of Australia. The race is divided into four different classes. Twente’s Solar Team is participating in the Challenger class; the Formula 1 class for solar cars.
Solar Team Twente consists of nineteen students from Saxion and the University of Twente. They are turning their dreams into reality: winning the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge in October 2017. Solar Team Twente also consists of a strong network with more than 150 partners. They practice top sport together, and they are building the fastest solar car in the world.