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KU Leuven students win the world championships for solar cars!

26 October 2023

The Innoptus Solar Team finished first in the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge, the world championship for solar cars taking place in Australia. The KU Leuven students are thus taking gold for the second time in a row, after already becoming world champions in 2019. The engineering students had a flawless edition.

The Belgians grabbed the coveted title today, allowing them to fulfill their ultimate goal. After 15 months of working on the Infinite, their solar car, they crossed the finish line first in Adelaide today. The students thus take home the world title for the second time in a row.

The team did have to endure some challenges. They were faced with smoke from neighboring forest fires that meant they received less solar energy than expected. The engineering students had to adjust their strategy accordingly. On top of that, a wind picked up in recent days. Their innovative fin allowed their solar car, the Infinite, to maintain speed. This allowed them to keep their biggest competitor, the team from Twente, at bay. Both teams used different strategies, and the KU Leuven students are today reaping the rewards of their tactical choices.

Coming Sunday, the Leuven students can snatch a second prize in Australia: the prize for the best innovation to the solar cars. The people from Leuven raced the 'Infinite', the team's tenth solar car. An important novelty of the car was the rotating fin on top, which could 'surf' on the wind, like a sail of a sailboat. This allowed the car to remain more stable when there were strong crosswinds during the race on the one hand, and to use less energy on the other.

Meanwhile, new KU Leuven students have been selected to man the Innoptus Solar Team. They will participate in the Sasol Solar Challenge in South Africa in September next year. The Infinite will be used for that too, with perhaps some newly added elements.

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