Dutch team gears up for Bridgestone World Solar Car Challenge at CDU

A team of students from Saxion University of Applied Sciences and the University of Twente in the Netherlands is making last minute adjustments to their solar car at CDU ahead of the Bridgestone World Solar Car Challenge. Image credit: Charles Darwin University

In the lead-up to the impending Bridgestone World Solar Car Challenge, a group of international students hailing from Saxion University of Applied Sciences and the University of Twente in the Netherlands is currently fine-tuning their solar-powered vehicle at Charles Darwin University (CDU).

Residing in Enschede, the Dutch-based Solar Team Twente has transformed a trades workshop at CDU into their operations hub for the past month, crafting their vision of the ultimate solar car for the 3,021-kilometre journey from Darwin to Adelaide, all powered solely by solar energy.

Tim Woertman, the technical manager of Solar Team Twente, is overseeing the last-minute adjustments, preparing for the official start of the race scheduled for Sunday, 22 October, at State Square, Parliament House Darwin.

“The workspace is a hive of activity right now, with everyone dedicated to their role in ensuring this car is the most efficient it can be,” commented Woertman.

He also expressed gratitude to CDU and its staff for their support during this crucial phase of preparation.

The Bridgestone World Solar Challenge, the world’s largest event of its kind, is held biennially in Australia.

Solar Team Twente has been a regular participant since 2005, securing a fifth-place finish in 2017 and a second-place finish in 2015.

Dubbed “RED X,” this solar car marks the team’s tenth creation. Designed and constructed over a span of ten months, this streamlined vehicle features three wheels, four square metres of solar panels, and a mere 140-kilogram weight.

With dimensions measuring five metres in length and 1.2 metres in width, its aerodynamic design minimises air resistance to a level akin to that of a standard bottle of Coke, all while boasting a top speed of 130 kilometres per hour.

Kirsten Bouwman, the Journey Lead for Solar Team Twente, expressed the team’s excitement for the competition and their lofty aspirations of clinching the championship title.

She stated, “At the start in Darwin, there are usually about 38 teams from all over the world. We are competing in the Challenger Class and hope to be the first to cross the finish line in Adelaide.”