Because of the Coronavirus pandemic, don't know yet whether the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge will happen this October, but the Vattenvall Solar Team is making sure it's ready for it anyway! The new team is made up of 17 students from TU Delft, and today they're introducing themselves to the world.
Due to Coronavirus guidance, the Vattenfall Solar Team could not be photographed together. The team photo is made up of 17 individual photos.
Photo: Jorrit Lousberg
The 17 members of the Vattenfall Solar Team are putting their studies at TU Delft to one side for a year so they can focus entirely on building their new solar car: Nuna11. When they applied for a coveted spot in the team last summer, the world was already in the throes of the Coronavirus pandemic. The current lockdown and Covid-19 measures across the globe are, so to speak, a dark cloud hanging over the international solar racing world. October is a while away, though, and the team feels hopeful.
"The Covid measures in Australia are really strict, but skipping a year isn't a big deal" emphasises Christiaan Wiers, team leader. "It's simple, actually: if the race goes ahead soon, there's no way we won't be part of it. So we're working flat out, on the assumption that the race will go ahead."
The Coronavirus measures make building the car this year even more challenging. The team have mostly been working on their design from home for the last few months and only meet when they really need to. When they did meet, it was in small groups following self-imposed strict Coronavirus protocols based on RIVM guidelines. Despite this, the team is still on track, says team leader Wiers: "Since we met each other last summer there hasn't been a time when all seventeen of us have met at once. Not even for the team photo! It's put together out of separate photos. That makes the team process quite the challenge! Fortunately, former coach for the Dutch national women’s field hockey team Marc Lammers took part in this year's teambuilding. The online sessions we have with him are really motivating - we've really grown as a team and are so enthusiastic about the project!"
The team will be taking part in the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge in Australia with their Nuna11. This race covers 3,000 kilometres across the Australian outback. The race has a strong line-up, so is also considered to be the unofficial World Cup race for solar cars. The Vattenfall Solar Team hopes that taking part in this race will represent a recovery: in the 2019 race, predecessor car NunaX went up in flames right before the finish line.
About the Vattenfall Solar Team
The Vattenfall Solar Team has been developing and building solar cars and participating in international solar races since 2001. In those two decades the TU Delft student team has won ten world solar racing titles and set two world records. Vattenfall Solar Team's mission is to push the boundaries of technology and inspire the world to move towards a sustainable future in which we use energy as efficiently as possible.