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World Solar Challenge

The research partners have high hopes for their first electric vehicle to be designed as a sports car.

Australia is the destination, Adelaide to be precise, a city on the south coast. On 25 October, Daniel Lohmeyer hopes to cross the finishing line there, ideally in first place, at the World Solar Challenge, the world championship for solar-powered vehicles. However, there is still some way to go. The 25-year-old is a student trainee at thyssenkrupp Steel Europe and is working on a new solar-powered car in the research team from Bochum University. This is a pioneering project and a unique opportunity for Lohmeyer.

Bochum University has been designing and building solar-powered electric vehicles for 15 years now and is the only university in Germany to do so. Every two years, a model with improved efficiency and suitability for everyday life is released. One of these solar-powered cars drove around the world in 2012 and holds the Guinness World Record for the longest journey driven by a solar electric vehicle at 29,753 kilometers.

SunRiser
The components from thyssenkrupp:

1. Shock absorbers from thyssenkrupp Bilstein ensure everyday driving comfort and active safety.

2. In the cockpit cross-member and center tunnel, the AZ31 magnesium alloy helps to significantly reduce the weight. The sheet comes from MgF Magnesium Flachprodukte.

3. The roll bar made from ultrahigh-strength CP-W®1000 steel from thyssenkrupp Steel Europe combines low weight with high crash safety.

4. The steering system from thyssenkrupp Presta in hybrid carbon/aluminum design ensures professional driving behavior.

5. The battery housing features plastic elements from thyssenkrupp Plastics. The battery cells are connected using contact plates from VDM Metals.

6. In the rotor and stator, newly developed electrical steel in the 230-30AP class optimizes the drive efficiency together with permanent magnets from thyssenkrupp Magnettechnik.

The SunCruiser came in second place at the World Solar Challenge 2013. The team is building a sports car for the next world championship this October, and is aiming for first place. The new solar-powered vehicle, called thyssenkrupp SunRiser, makes increased use of lightweight steels. They are more cost-effective and more sustainable in comparison to the carbon previously used. High-strength complex phase steel of the CP-W® 1000 grade for the roll bar is built into the inside of the solar cruiser. Magnesium has been used for the center tunnel and dashboard. The Group is also using its collective strength: The suspension specialist thyssenkrupp Bilstein is delivering customized shock absorbers. thyssenkrupp Presta is providing part of the steering system.

thyssenkrupp Schulte is supplying aluminum for motor components and thyssenkrupp Magnettechnik is delivering the permanent magnets for the electric motors. Experience gained from the past years has been used to design the engine for the new model. As for the road profile, strategy, and the speeds to be expected as a result, the use of special electrical steel should help to further increase efficiency. “thyssenkrupp Steel Europe has developed a range of innovative lightweight steel solutions that are being used in the automotive industry,” says Oliver Hoffmann, Head of the Application Technology department in Duisburg.

“We will be trying to implement part of this in the construction of a solar-powered vehicle for the first time.” This has already proved successful as the initiative KlimaExpo.NRW rewarded the Group’s previous model for dedication to electromobility in the interests of climate protection. The judges were particularly impressed by the collaboration between the research team and the company.

What’s inside counts too

More effort than ever is going into the interior fittings. Driving time is not the only thing that matters at the world championship for solar-powered cars. Suitability for everyday life, design, and comfort are also crucial factors. The designers also place a lot of importance on reliability. Each component needs to remain intact for the entire 3,000-kilometer journey from Darwin in the north to Adelaide in the south.

The route traverses the Tanami and Simpson deserts and passes by Ayers Rock and Alice Springs. The World Solar Challenge takes place every two years in Australia, and the competition is an open road race. The thyssenkrupp SunRiser will be competing in the cruiser class, which requires the vehicle to be approved for road use in the country of origin and have at least two seats, in addition to suitability for everyday life. In this class, it is permitted to charge the battery pack (maximum weight of 60 kg) once after 1,500 kilometers from the mains grid to supplement the energy generated during the journey by the solar panels installed on top of the car. Maximum speeds of over 120 kilometers per hour can be achieved in this class of vehicle.

Daniel Lohmeyer is one of the mechanics and is responsible for the roof design. He and his colleagues are working under a lot of pressure to complete the project. Time is ticking until Australia in October, but everyone is confident that their efforts will pay off in the end. The journey ‘down under’ will be an experience in itself, but hopefully the team will bring home the title of world champion too.

Solar-power

Daniel Lohmeyer

Daniel Lohmeyer is focusing all his energy on the new thyssenkrupp SunRiser.

Daniel Lohmeyer is one of the mechanics and is responsible for the roof design. He and his colleagues are working under a lot of pressure to complete the project. Time is ticking until Australia in October, but everyone is confident that their efforts will pay off in the end. The journey ‘down under’ will be an experience in itself, but hopefully the team will bring home the title of world champion too.

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