The SolarCar Project in Bochum has one of the largest SolarCar Teams in the world, with some 50 to 60 student members currently participating. Coordination is the key to success in larger groups. This is why some of the student and university staff members get tasked with managing the overall project. Other team members are divided into smaller groups working on different fields.
When holding weekly meetings, members of our team come together to discuss the current situation and any arising issues, so that solutions may be found and different tasks may be distributed. Every cycle of the Bochum project lasts a total of two years. These cycles are also divided into smaller parts. The envisioning and designing process of each new SolarCar is usually accompanied by the task of training and introducing new team members. The student members then work together to construct and finish the solar vehicle using skills acquired during their earlier studies. Each project cycle ends with the team participating at the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge in Australia.
Working on the project requires an approach in the sense of problem based learning. Participants are handed increasing amounts of responsibility to improve their own process of learning, making them work more and more autonomously as the project cycle continues. Those interested in joining the team can do so on a voluntary basis. While it is generally recommended that students only join the project after finishing at least one year of their studies, there aren't any additional requirements for new members.
The SolarCar Project was founded by a small group of students from Bochum during the late 1990s. They spent the final semester of their studies in the United Kingdom to build a SolarCar called Mad Dog III at London's South Bank University.
Their efforts focused on the process of building a solar vehicle from beginning to finish. After testing their newly constructed car at the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge in Australia, the students and their mentor Prof. Friedbert Pautzke felt encouraged to try a similar approach at their own university. Six more SolarCars have been built in Bochum since then. Over the years, the cars from Bochum have become increasingly well-developed in terms of both aerodynamics and applicability in everyday life. Technological improvements on the field of electric mobility were constantly made along the way, earning the team numerous prizes and accolades over the years.
The Bochum team has won the European Championship for SolarCars on several occasions and came in second on its best showing at the BWSC in Australia. More information about the team's history can also be found on our university's website.