Innoptus Solar Team presents its 10th solar car, preparing once again for the World Solar Challenge
Today the Innoptus Solar Team presented the "Infinite," the tenth Belgian solar car. The 20 engineering students worked together for a year on the anniversary solar car. In October, the KU Leuven students will participate with this car in the 'Bridgestone World Solar Challenge,' the world championship for solar cars that takes place in Australia. The car is being built in a hangar in the Vaartkom area in Leuven.
For this edition of the world championship, the team members mainly took care of the energetic aspect of the car. Among other things, the engine and the battery pack were strongly optimized and the limits of the available technology were explored.
The self-designed battery pack allows the car to travel about 900 kilometers. That's good for a drive from Brussels to the south of France, even when the sun isn't shining, making it 200 kilometers more than the autonomy of the previous solar car.
In addition, the team also bet on the in-house production of the engine. Thus, they manage to build a tremendously efficient engine with a top speed of up to 170 km/h. "After much research and optimizations to the production process, we managed to build a motor with higher efficiency than motors used at Tesla," said the Innoptus Solar Team.
The solar team also continued working on their innovative design for a fin. This fin sits on the car's cockpit and folds out in crosswinds. This allows the car to sail on the wind and consumes up to four times less energy. It is the first time the fin has been deployed in Australia and could provide a significant competitive advantage for the Belgians.
Mechanically, the Infinite has also been optimized over its predecessors. The Infinite is the narrowest Belgian solar car ever and is more streamlined than its predecessors. As a result, the car consumes less energy and can be driven faster during the race. To make the solar car so narrow, the mechanical design of the car has been thoroughly tinkered with.
Over the next month, the solar car will be extensively tested on Belgian soil before it leaves for Australia. In Australia, the students will be challenged to drive their solar car as fast as possible from Darwin to Adelaide. That is a route of 3021 kilometers straight through the Australian Outback.
The last time the world championship went ahead, the Belgians took the victory. They will defend their title against international teams, with top favorites from the Netherlands, America and Japan. The world championship continues between Oct. 22 and 29.
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