Newsletter 4: From design to product

27 - 02 - 2015

Solar Team Eindhoven Newsletter #4






Since the start of February, I am lucky number 22 who will participate in Solar Team Eindhoven. There was room for an Acquisition Manager and I took my chance to fill in this position. I started to get to know the team through explainations of every field of expertise. Every member has explained his part with a lot of enthusiasm and passion. Feeling the passion of the team to build the new solar car motivates me even more to work for Solar Team Eindhoven. We share a common vision and I will do everything in my power to make sure that the car of the future will drive on the public road soon!



It is very interesting to experience the total process of the development of a solar car and especially the suspension. What starts with a simple drawing evolves to a full design, which actually gets produced and implemented in our solar car. I would like to take you through my design process in short, from research and design to production and testing.
In the previous newsletter I explained the purpose of the suspension and the important requirements. After exploring different types of suspension like the Macpherson Strut, Double Wishbone, Multi-Link and Trailing Arm and evaluating the effects on the aerodynamics, chassis and body, a trailing arm rear suspension was chosen.  

The first step was sketching and brainstorming. Meanwhile, we were trained by Siemens PLM Software in designing and performing strength calculations in NX, our 3D design program. Using our special 3D mouse from 3Dconnexion, we can easily navigate within the 3D model.


After the strength calculation and optimization steps to reduce weight, technical drafts were made and send to Motis Engineering for production. The materials for production were delivered by MCB Nederland. After we received the custom-made spring-damper combination of YSS-suspension, the parts were assembled. Then the whole suspension was tested under maximum load cases at Benteler Engineering Services in Helmond to verify whether the actual product meets up with the design requirements.




OK, we started to build the body, but how do we move it? Right, electronics! The car has several vital ‘organs’ which make mobility possible. This month I will elaborate on the essential components of a solar car: the solar panels, its motors, and the battery.

Let’s start with our energy source: the sun. Solar rays from the sun are converted in energy by the solar panels. This is necessary because we cannot take an endless amount of energy with us. The sun provides more energy in one hour than the total energy consumption of the whole earth for a year. So why not use this to drive? Solar panels enable us to use the sun as a range extender and drive further than any electric car ever did. Therefore, we need solar cells with the highest possible efficiency.

To drive that far on a single charge, the energy consumption of the car needs to be as low as possible. The components which use the most energy of the car are the motors. With over a stunning 90% of the energy consumption it is vital that the motors are as efficient as possible. The motors have to give us speed, not like a racing car, but enough velocity to be able to participate in traffic comfortably while remaining very efficient.

The battery in the car has two functions. The first one is to supply energy to the motors when the solar panels do not provide enough energy to drive. Secondly, if the solar panels deliver more energy than the car consumes, the battery stores the generated energy.

This was only the tip of the iceberg. We will continue to explain about the electric components in the upcoming newsletters!


We will move this saturday to our new headquarters with the other automotive teams to another location! Our new location will be on ‘De Horsten 10, 5612 AX Eindhoven, University of Technology’ 


Last year True Pixel did a great job making our documentary. This year it are the Filmstones which will turn our journey in an epic motion pictures. Tristan and Renze, welcome to the team!




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