RED E, solar car of Solar Team Twente, has been severely damaged with only two weeks left before the start of the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge in Australia. The solar array, or more accurately the laminate which lays on top of the solar array, shows signs of damage (see photo) which cannot be repaired. A major setback for the students who have put one-and-a-half years of their time into designing and manufacturing the solar car. The cause of the damage is being investigated.

The news has hit hard amongst the students from Twente. The damage is very likely to be of negative influence on the performance during the race. “We are in shock. We have worked so hard and with so much passion on RED E over the last year and then something like this happens. Our solar array is equipped with the best solar cells available on the market, but this damage limits us in using them to their full potential. We will get less energy income from the sun due to this. The location of the damage is one of the most efficient locations on the array. The damaged module is on the rear of the solar car, a place where we actually get hit with a lot of sunlight”, as explained by electrotechnician Rob Kräwinkel. 

Unknown cause
The cause for the damage to the module is still unknown to the team. A solar array consists of several modules of solar cells. These cells are wrapped in a protective laminate. This laminate is also what aids in a higher energy income. The team is investigating the cause of the damage. “To prevent the damage from expanding any further, we are looking into what caused the damage to the module and what the further consequences might be”, according to Rob.

“We have already done serious mileage with RED E during testing, both in the Netherlands and in Australia. During these tests we have never experienced anything like this before with the solar array. Even more so, the testing went extremely well!” according to Technical Manager Sybren Wubs. “A setback like this comes as a complete, and very unwelcome, surprise to us with only eleven days left before the start of the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge.”

Despite the setback, the team remains in good spirits and has faith in their solar car. “We hope to have more information soon regarding the damage. Until then, we will continue our preparations as planned. Tomorrow we have another day of testing planned”, says Sybren Wubs.

Bridgestone World Solar Challenge
On the 13th of October the Solar Team Twente will appear at the start of the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge, the most prestigious race for solar powered cars. Together with more than fifty other international participants, the solar team from Twente will travel for more than 3000 kilometers through the outback of Australia with the RED E solar car. The race has three different classes. Solar Team Twente competes in the Challenger Class, the Formula 1 for solar cars.

Solar Team Twente
Solar Team Twente consists of 19 students of Saxion and the University of Twente. Besides the students the team is part of a strong network of more than 150 partners. Together the team practices top-class sport and they build the most efficient solar car in the world. The team believes in the motto “Challenge triggers innovation”. That is why Solar Team Twente competes in the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge. On the one hand to win the race and on the other hand to raise awareness for the possibilities of solar energy.


Note to the press
For more information, please contact Gearte Nynke Noteboom, communication manager of Solar Team Twente: available on +61 4 605 87 811 or via g.noteboom@solarteam.nl.