Newsletter Week 39 – Ready for the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge!

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Solar Team Eindhoven Newsletter September 2019 – Week 39
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The final preparations for the challenge!
We’ve arrived and settled in Darwin! In the last newsletter, we showed you our trip-up (from Adelaide to Darwin). The weeks have flown by and we’re making the final preparations for the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge (which starts in roughly 2 weeks!). In this newsletter, you’ll read about what we have done since we have arrived in Darwin, which has had many ups and downs already!
Testing on a race track
While in Darwin, we are able to use the Hidden Valley racing track to test our vehicle for high speed load-cases. It’s the ultimate track to verify whether Stella Era meets our safety requirements and test what lap times we can set. 
During the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge (BWSC), the qualification is held at this racing track, also called the dynamic scrutineering. On Saturday, October 11th, we’ll be setting a track time that determines at what position we will start the next day. Luckily we could already try out this track for a few rounds!
Hard work pays off
After the damage to the solar panel and some worrisome events around the in-wheel motors (about which you can read more below), the team worked incredibly hard to stay on schedule and prepare as best as we can for the start of the #BWSC19. Where do you think we got our motivation from? All the support we got from you! 

Thanks to the help of our partners and our fans, the new solar panel arrived today! Just two weeks left to get back on track and make up for the lost time. But finally having the new panel in our hands definitely gives another motivation boost. 
A quick trip to Melbourne
During one of the testing days, we heard a very particular and worrisome sound from one of our in-wheel motors. We decided to inspect it, but couldn’t find anything. To prevent any damage from being done, we needed a third party to inspect the motor. Unfortunately, we’re located in Darwin and the company was located in Melbourne.

Since there’s only a few weeks until the BWSC, we had to act quickly. That’s why we decided to fly one our team members to Melbourne to bring the motor over there and get a spare one back. Within 48 hours, he was back in Melbourne with a new motor!
A week with Solar Team Eindhoven…
During the final phase of this project, many people have to work on the car, but it’s only available when it’s in the workshop. Moreover, only a handful of people can work on the car simultaneously. To solve this issue as efficiently as possible, we have several shifts that either test the car, fix any issues found during testing and add additional features that were not present on the car. 
Sometimes, media comes over to take a few pictures of our car (or team members for that matter). This time, the reporters were interested in a cool-looking picture of engineers that have been working on the car. What do you think about them? 
We are working hard to get our solar car ready for the BWSC. This means we’re making 12 hours a day, 6 days a week. On Sunday, everyone has some time off to enjoy Australia at its finest. One of the first things many people did on their ‘holiday’ was visiting the jumping crocodile course near Darwin!

Isn’t he happy to see us?

Stay positive, stay sportive!
During our stay in Darwin, we are busy preparing for the BWSC. However, we only have a few members of the team that will be driving in Stella Era during the trip! It can become very hot and humid in the solar car, so you must be well trained. The drivers and passengers prepare mentally and physically by attending a weekly sports class. Every week, they have two training sessions of an hour where they perform physical exercises at the hottest hours of the day.

Would you be able to keep up with them? 

Crowdfunding
The final weeks of our project have started! We’re about to start the challenge of our lives, but we very much need your help! The budget is not yet completed and there are still expenses that we need to cover. Think of all those engineers that are on a tight schedule and budget!

Consider supporting us by means of crowdfunding. By contributing to one of the parts of the car we are currently working on you can accelerate our process, so that we can accelerate the future. We will thank all our helping hands with a surprise on their doormat.

All the contributions go directly towards enhancing the car and making sure we grab that fourth World Championship title!
Make a donation

On a closing note
That’s it for now, but you can expect much more from us in the coming weeks. Of course, you can follow us via our social media channels, but did you also know that we have our own podcast? During the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge you can also follow us via real-time information on our website.

If you feel like you missed something in this newsletter or want to know some specific information about Stella Era or our team, you can email us at [email protected]!

THANKS TO OUR SPONSORS
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Newsletter Week 36 – A new country, a new office!

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Solar Team Eindhoven Newsletter September 2019 – Week 36
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Straight through the Australian outback!
Since our arrival in Adelaide, we’ve been having a great time exploring Australia and its outback. Last week, we have traveled over 3000 kilometers straight through the vast terrains of Australia to arrive in Darwin. The previous newsletter explained our final preparations for the trip to Australia, and our work in Darwin. This newsletter is themed by our trip up: our experiences in different landscapes, vast oceans of nothing and small towns with a single pump to get gas. We’ll also discuss a bit about the work we will be doing in Darwin (in our new office).
Leaving Adelaide…
The trip-up was planned to take 11 days. We left Adelaide on the 26th of August. We needed a slight warm-up: we left roughly 1.5 hours too late as packing up a trailer full of supplies took a bit more time than we had anticipated. But we were ready to go! 
The first stop on Day 1 was Port Germein. Interestingly, a long jetty was constructed to help nearby ships when necessary. The jetty is roughly 1.7 km long. It would take you about an hour to walk all the way to the end and back!
We travelled onwards, crossing Port Augusta on our way, and headed towards our first resting area. In Australia, you often have places that allow you to set up a camp and sleep, next to the road.
The next morning, we woke up rather early: 6:00. The time we lost the previous morning had to be compensated in some way and that meant a lot of extra driving today. At the end of the day, we reached Coober Pedy, a small mining town in the middle of the desert with roughly 2000 inhabitants. It may come to you as a surprise, but it’s actually quite cold in the Outback during the night: at ground level, there are temperatures reaching 0 degrees centigrade.
Travelling to Alice Springs
On day 3, it was time to practice our first control stop. During the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge (BWSC) each team needs to arrive at control stop at a specified time during each day and is seated there for at least 30 minutes. During this time, the team can take care of the passengers in the solar car and swap for new passengers if deemed necessary.
During the control stop, each team member has very specific tasks that ought to be performed. Our safety officer Thomas and team manager Carijn are responsible for checking the time and making sure we can drive away with Stella Era as smoothly as possible. To communicate with each other during a control stop, we use handheld radios, as can be seen.
On day 4, it was time for some more relaxing. We travelled to Uluru, a big mountain in the middle of the Australian Outback. There are many stories to be heard and read about this rock and you can walk around it if you please. We decided to hike around the rock and explore the flora and fauna around it. It was quite hot, especially during the mid-day so we took great care to avoid the sun as much as possible (even though it is winter in Australia right now!).
Day 5 and 6 allowed us to relax a bit. We set up camp in Alice Springs and checked out the town. Some of us visited the nearby reptile centre, others took a hike up the nearby mountains. We even spotted our first wild kangaroo!
On day 7 we were on the road again! Early to rise (at 6:30 this time) and we left for Devils Marbles. It’s a nice collection of rocks; to quote a famous explorer John Ross: “This is the Devil’s country; he’s even emptied his bag of marbles around the place!” 
During day 8, we drove a lot and practiced our protocols: how to overtake a slower vehicle whilst driving in a convoy? How to be overtaken? How to communicate properly? How to provide detailed, yet concise, feedback regarding any objects on the road? All these questions had to be answered and every team member should know how to answer these.
A hot spring on the way
Day 9 and 10 were one of the most memorable days of the trip up: everybody had looked forward to the moment that we arrived in the hot springs of Mataranka! Picture a swimming pool, made of simple creek (small river) that has geothermal heated water of 30 degrees Celsius. You can swim freely and relax while never being cold. The team stayed there for two days to relax and rest a bit from the long drive of the previous days.

During our trip to Mataranka, we visited the Daly Waters Inn; a small pub in the middle of nowhere that hosts many different guests and is well-known for all its t-shirts and bra’s. Think of a normal pub, but with pieces of clothing hanging all around the pub!
At last: Darwin!
And that’s a wrap! On day 11 we drove to Darwin and we arrived around the afternoon at our houses. On the way, we stopped for our final practice of a control stop at Katherine. Our arrival in Darwin concluded the trip up, which meant that the real work was to be done. The next morning, we immediately assembled at our office at Sitzler to start fresh and full of new-found energy!

Bad news from transit
After we arrived in Darwin, we immediately wanted to check up on Stella Era. She arrived a day prior to us and we were eager to see how she made it over to the Australian continent. Upon opening the flight case, we saw a major issue: one of the solar panels had been severely damaged by one of the wooden beams of the flight case.

The solar roof consists of multiple panels, of which unfortunately the one with the highest efficiency has been damaged. We are going to investigate whether some of the parts can still be used and reassemble the panel. In the best case, we’ll be able to fix it without losing efficiency.

Luckily, the rest of the transport went well and Stella Era is here and ready to be fixed. We’ll need to spend time fixing this major issue.
Read more about it here

Crowdfunding
We had a great trip-up with lots of time to relax (to compensate for the lack thereof during the year). However, we are set back by the damage that was done to the solar panel during transit. We’ll need your support to help us get back on track!

You can support us by means of crowdfunding. By contributing to one of the parts of the car we are currently working on you can accelerate our process, so that we can accelerate the future. We will thank all our helping hands with a surprise on their doormat.

All the contributions go directly towards enhancing the car and moving it to Australia. 
Make a donation

On a closing note
We hope you’ve enjoyed this newsletter! We hope we’ll soon be able to get back to you with good news on the solar panel.

If you feel like you missed something in this newsletter or want to know some specific information about Stella Era or our team, you can email us at [email protected]!

THANKS TO OUR SPONSORS
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Newsletter Week 34 – Arrived in Adelaide!

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Solar Team Eindhoven Newsletter July 2019 – Week 34
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Arrived in Australia!
After a long year of hard work, we’re getting closer and closer to our final goal: participating in the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge (BWSC). Last Sunday, the first members of our team arrived and slowly but surely the full team will arrive. In this newsletter, you’ll learn all about the last preparations back home, the journey from Amsterdam to Adelaide, and our first week here! 
The last photos…
Since Stella Era is packing her bags to move to Australia, we wanted to get some pictures before she’s off. We managed to plan a ‘media day’ where a few partners tagged along to get some nice pictures. We drove around in Eindhoven together with Audi, Bart van Overbeeke, Concept God, Van Gils, and AIIM. In the following weeks you’ll see the images popping up on the web, but you can get a preview down below:
The last boxes…
Last week, we packed Stella Era in her bright new flight case. However, a lot of tools are also required to perform maintenance while she’s on the road. In total, we packed 24 large crates full of supplies (from crimping tools and wrenches to USB sticks and antenna’s).

It’s not as simple as packing some crates and you’re good to go: to the contrary, some tools need to go to the USA for use over there, while other tools go straight back home. Some sharp minds noticed that using stickers with different colors could help distinguish the USA boxes from the Australian boxes; and so a new tradition was born: using stickers as if your life depends on it.
A few of our team members were in charge of the ‘Great Packing’. They were very proud of the result and, fortunately, they had some time to strike a nice pose. Thanks to Bart van Overbeeke for the nice photo!

The last trip…
After the packing was done and our office was cleaned thoroughly, it was time for the real travels. We left in groups of three: the first team left last Sunday, the second group on Monday and the final group left Wednesday (21st of August). On Thursday, we’ll all be together again in Adelaide. 

As of writing, I’m already located in Adelaide so this is our first newsletter from Australia! The coming days, we’ll prepare for our trip upwards (from Adelaide to Darwin): we call it the Trip Up!

The trip up starts on the 26th of August and we will arrive on the 5th of September in Darwin. Along the way, we’ll see some touristic locations (like Uluru) and camp in the outback. We can practice protocols, like how to overtake another solar team, how to stop at a control stop and what to do during an emergency stop.

STELLA ERA IN PICTURES
Images from left to right, top to bottom:

[1] The view from the plane as we were flying to Australia (we sat near the wing!)
[2] Stella Era during testing on a test track in the Netherlands (isn’t she a beauty?).
[3] Our solar family Dirk and Marije packing their bags for the trip to Adelaide!
[4] Dirk and Luc (driver and co-driver) during testing of Stella Era.
[5] Thomas is (very carefully) cleaning the solar panel.
 

Crowdfunding
We just arrived in Adelaide and we’re getting closer to the start of the BWSC, but we still need your (financial) support!

You can support us by means of crowdfunding. By contributing to one of the parts of the car we are currently working on you can accelerate our process, so that we can accelerate the future. We will thank all our helping hands with a surprise on their doormat.

All the contributions go directly towards enhancing the car and moving it to Australia. 
Make a donation

On a closing note
Goodbye Eindhoven, hello Adelaide! That’s it for this newsletter, thanks for reading. 

Note that starting from this week, we’ll be sending a newsletter every week. This means there’ll be more of us to enjoy in Australia!

If you feel like you missed something in this newsletter or want to know some specific information about Stella Era or our team, you can email us at [email protected]!

THANKS TO OUR SPONSORS

THANKS TO OUR PHOTOGRAPHER
Thanks to Bart van Overbeeke for his amazing photos that are featured in this newsletter!
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Newsletter Week 32 – We are almost ready to depart!

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Solar Team Eindhoven Newsletter July 2019 – Week 32
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Let’s start packing for Australia!
We have been testing with Stella Era for a few weeks now and the time of departure draws ever closer and closer. This means we have to prepare us for the long trip to Australia. In this newsletter, you’ll learn all about the tasks we need to fix before Era is put inside the trailer and shipped and how much time there is left to clean in our office!
Performing the final tests…
We’ve been hard at work testing the car up until its limits. We have tested Stella Era for a lot of different safety measures, think of maximum allowable braking distance, order of wheel locking, sudden lane changes, emergency parking brake stops, etc. Additionally, tests like maximum speed, maximum acceleration, endurance and drive train performance have been performed.

In total, we’ve tested over 400 kilometers with our new car. It could have been more if we weren’t so unlucky with the weather conditions: we’ve had rain during more than 50% of the test days. 

Most often we’ve tested on test tracks (up to 3 km per track!). During one of these test days, we tested together with Top Dutch Solar Racing! It’s nice to see their new car driving around and it was a great opportunity to practice communication protocols used during the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge.
Read more about Stella Era
Finishing up the car
The final touches are being applied to Stella Era to make her fully functional and as pretty as she can be. You can see Jelte connecting the final cables to make sure the camera monitoring system is working. Our new steer has been tuned (a glimpse of it can be seen in the picture above) and the exterior lighting has been connected. We can now safely drive around while being able to see the road ahead of us in the dark!
Mechanical engineer Thomas is adjusting the pedal box and the provided sensors. We’ve had issues with the brake pedal sensor not calibrating properly, and Thomas is trying to fix that. It’s important that both the throttle and braking pedals are calibrated properly.
Mechanical engineer Arjen is teaching electrical engineer Daniël how you drill a hole in piece of wood. It’s not as easy at it may seem! Daniël is working on cases for the electrical equipment located in the solar car.
 
Team manager Carijn is ironing out the kinks in the (almost) final protocols that are used during the BWSC. Think of protocols like ‘how to overtake a solar team’, ‘how to quickly set up camp’, ‘how to make an emergency stop’, ‘how to drive in a convoy’, etc.

Look at that … a little Stella!
While we are busy working on the actual Stella Era, you can also build your own Stella! With help of the 2ontwerpers, we’ve put up a production line for Do-It-Yourself solar cars! If you’re interested in purchasing one for your little brother or you’d really like to build a solar car yourself (we can recommend it!), you can go over to our website and order them!
I want a Stella Era!

THE FINAL WEEKS IN PICTURES
Images from left to right, top to bottom:

[1] Taskforce Practicality is working on the presentation that is used during the practicality judgement.
[2] Mechanical engineer Arjen is verifying whether the brake disks are adjusted correctly.
[3] Project leader Mick is checking the latest scrum tasks that were performed.
[4] Battery engineer Niels is checking the inner casing of the battery for any holes.
[5] A throwback photo to when the first solar panels were installed on the roof.
[6] Software engineers Vincent & Yvo are building a casing for the electronic boards installed in Stella Era.
[7] PR manager Marije is getting ready for shipping the new merchandise!

Let’s start packing those bags!
Stella Era will be shipped on the 14th of August using her new flight case. However, getting the car in the flight case is the easy part: finding all tools, labeling them and sorting them into the right container is part deux! We’re bringing 24 large boxes with us, 12 that will go back to our office in the Netherlands after the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge and 12 that will follow our car to the USA.

However, all these boxes are not yet filled! This means we’ll need to hurry up to get everything sorted and stuffed before we leave.

Crowdfunding
We are almost ready to depart to Australia, but we still need your help!

You can support us by means of crowdfunding. By contributing to one of the parts of the car we are currently working on you can accelerate our process, so that we can accelerate the future. We will thank all our helping hands with a surprise on their doormat.

All the contributions go directly towards enhancing the car and moving it to Australia. 
Make a donation

On a closing note
That’s it for this newsletter, thanks for reading!

If you feel like you missed something in this newsletter or want to know some specific information about Stella Era or our team, you can email us at [email protected]!

THANKS TO OUR SPONSORS

THANKS TO OUR PHOTOGRAPHER
Thanks to Bart van Overbeeke for his amazing photos that are featured in this newsletter!
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Newsletter Week 30 – Testing, testing… and more testing!

Newsletter Week 30 – Testing, testing… and more testing!

Newsletter Week 28 – It’s back!

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Solar Team Eindhoven Newsletter July 2019 – Week 28
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There she is: Stella Era!
The world’s first charging station on wheels
And her name is … Stella Era! Last week it was finally time to unveil our new solar car to all of you. Stella Era is an autonomous charging station on wheels. Did you miss the unveiling? You can watch the whole presentation here.

In the coming months, we will tell you all about her new features, and our progress in preparing ourselves and the car for the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge! Make sure to check us out on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn (see links below)!
CAR PRESENTATION
Let’s start off with last Thursday: we presented our new car Stella Era! It was a great success with roughly 500 people attending (according to our guesstimates).

We showed what we wanted to achieve this year with our new solar car and why she will make a difference in the mobility sector. Coincidentally, we’ve updated the website with a detailed story about the new car.
Read more about her here
FROM PRODUCTION TO ASSEMBLY
Up until the car presentation, we were focused on the production of the car. After production is finished, you have a body, but it’s not a car yet. To make it a car, you will need things to drive the car: you’ll need solar panels, a battery, screens, a steering wheel, brakes, wheels, etc.
 
But before you add all components to the car, we gave her a paint job.
After the paint job, she was moved to our headquarters in Momentum, on the TU/e campus. From there on, we had to move fast: it was the beginning of June and the car presentation would be on the 4th of July! Only a few weeks left to fit all components in the car. We had to work concurrently as a team.
The battery and solar panel engineers worked on getting the battery ready for testing. Unfortunately, we found a large bug in the software running on the Battery Management System (BMS) and a large part had to be rewritten. On the right, Niels is testing one of the printed circuit boards (PCB).

Luckily, we could complete the rewrite (of the software) in less than a week and testing of the battery started. After the testing was complete and the battery was verified to be safe, it could be fitted inside the car.
 
Meanwhile, our mechanical engineers are working hard to build the last pieces that should be fitted on the body. You can see mechanical engineer Thomas working on a casing for one of the printed circuit boards that is to be fitted in the car.

SPRING MONTHS IN PICTURES
Images from left to right, top to bottom:

[1] Laminating the bottom shell of the car.
[2] Coen searching for the right tools
[3] Our April 1st joke: baking Brabant’s ‘worstenbroodje‘ in our new oven 
[4] Mick and Dirk testing software on a printed circuit board
[5] Pam & Carijn showing us that they are still okay during production
[6] The start of our Partner Network Event
[7] Partners listening to a presentation given during the Partner Network Event

BATTERY SHIPPED!
Lastly, we recently shipped our battery together with Solar Team Twente and Vattenfal Solar Team. Last time around we shipped our battery using an aircraft, but we suffered from massive delays. Lessons learned: this year we have chosen to transport them by ship. It means it will take longer, but it is easier to move big batteries on a boat than by plane. The batteries are to arrive around August 25th in Adelaide.

CROWDFUNDING
Even though we are closing in on the deadline to move the car to Australia, we still need help to be able to finance it all.

You can support us by means of crowdfunding. By contributing to one of the parts of the car we are currently working on you can accelerate our process, so that we can accelerate the future. We will thank all our helping hands with a surprise on their doormat.

All the contributions go directly towards enhancing the car and moving it to Australia. 
Make a donation

ON A CLOSING NOTE
If you feel like you missed something in this newsletter or want to know some specific information about Stella Era, you can email us at [email protected]!

THANKS TO OUR SPONSORS
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Nieuwsbrief 11 Juli 2019

Nieuwsbrief 11 Juli 2019

Persbericht Autopresentatie

Persbericht Autopresentatie

Onthulling Solar Team Eindhoven

Onthulling Solar Team Eindhoven

SAVE THE DATE – Autopresentatie (copy 03)

SAVE THE DATE – Autopresentatie (copy 03)