After two years of planning and construction in Bochum and seven weeks preparations in Australia the thyssenkrupp blue.cruiser can cross the starting lina as first solarcar of its class in Darwin. The chief manager of the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge Chris Sellwood introduced the SolarCar team from Bochum as the initiators for the cruiser class and the 60 members of the university are proud to be part of this whole project. The problems and difficulties of the last days during the static scrutineering are forgotten since the success of the qualifying, and this morning the team is excited to see their solarcar in midst the largest SolarCar Challenge of the world. Finally, the car drives throw the cheering crowd und is right in time for its journes to Adelaide.
The First Kilometres
However, the excitement does not last too long, unfortunately – after five kilometres already the SolarCar reports the chase about problems. The engine controller, which caused serious troubles throughout the last week, are once again not working properly and urge the SolarCar to pull over. Smoke appears at the front on the left side and the inverter is burned down after the short drive. Some fuses are damaged as well. After 1.5 hours the team can get the blue.cruiser back on the road. The time lost needs to be compensated and the team bounces back and is happy when the car leaves it parking position right next to the highway. Now it is all about making up time and moving to the front positions.
Step by Step
The switch of the inverter and the fuses eventually pays off. The SolarCar drives without any incidents towards its first check point after 300 kilometres in Katherine and can overtake several other SolarCars on the way. Here, it becomes obvious that many teams are not lucky and need to pull over. Some even have to load their car onto the trailer, which means an end for the team in the challenge.
The strategy must be carefully adjusted to the new situation and the blue.cruiser can now show how much power he truly has. Up to 130 km/h – an unusual speed for the BWSC – make the car overtake various escort vehicles, solarcars, and trailers. The other teams gaped and also showed their respect.
To sum up….
Even though the team experienced a severe downfall at the beginning, everyone can be happy about the first day. The blue.cruiser drove 500 km and the strategists are pleased with the cruising range and the battery’s drain. The sleeping locations will be a caravan park in Larrimah, including a shower and constant water. This will probably the last luxury for the next five days.