Covestro Sonnenwagen

Our Mission

Our vision is to take part in building a better future through sustainable mobility concepts.

Electromobility is the technology of the future that is already available today.

Louis Palmer – Sustainability pioneer

True to this slogan, Team Sonnenwagen Aachen is working towards the future electromobility, inspired by the developments in sustainable mobility concepts of today. The feasibility of change from fossil fuels to renewable energy will be demonstrated through our Huawei Sonnenwagen. Our organization is based in Aachen and was established in November of 2015. Developing a solar car challenges our team constantly, more than the development of a conventional vehicle would.

In particular, the vehicle weight and the aerodynamic design are at the forefront. For this reason, lightweight construction and fiber composite materials are used – every gram counts. The in-house developed chassis minimizes wind resistance and therefore offers higher speed cruising. The solar car is powered by highly efficient solar cells and is a perfect example of regenerative energies. In cooperation with our partners from nearby industry and science, we aim to develop an efficient, reliable and safe vehicle concept.

The Covestro Sonnenwagen

The Sonnenwagen is the heart of our project.

Aerodynamic

By using various simulation tools and wind tunnel tests, we will design our solar car as streamlined as possible and reduce drag to a minimum.

Lightweight

The lightest possible vehicle weight is very critical. Therefore, we work on new concepts in cooperation with institutes of the RWTH Aachen University and FH Aachen.

Efficient

Important for the efficiency of the solar car is not only the weight and aerodynamics, but also the quality of the solar cells and the driving strategy.

5 kWh

Battery capacity

500 km

Reach

2,6 qm

Solar panel surface

1 kWp

Solar panel power

1

Seating

2019

Year

How are we developing our Sonnenwagen?

Developing a solar car is a lot of work. Therefore, all our teams are working with full energy to reach our goals.

The all-wheel steering allows the optimal alignment of the sun car to the wind direction and the closed carbon rims prevent additional air turbulence in the interior.

Jan Wiartalla – Head of chassis

The mechanics team faces the challenge of building an innovative and competitive race car for the toughest solar race in the world in just two years. For this purpose, we are divided into expert groups such as chassis, steering, brakes and structure in order to contribute to the development in the best possible way, depending on personal competencies and experiences.

 

All departments of Team Sonnenwagen Aachen are in constant and close contact with each other to ensure that all individual developments ultimately fit together in a coherent overall concept. Thus, technical questions can be clarified immediately, interfaces defined and innovative solutions developed. Because we are convinced: a team is more than the sum of its members!

The 890 solar cells generate up to 1 kW with an efficiency of 34% and cover an area of 2.6 square meters. With the 5 kWh battery, our solar car can travel 500 km at 90 km / h. The developed axial flux motor generates a nominal power of 3 kW.

Christopher Herget – Head of electrical engineering

The classic electric powertrain consists of battery, inverter and motor. A solar car also has a solar panel and the associated power electronics. In the future, we will not only drive electrically, but also “refuel” our energy directly from the sun. The task of our department is to convert the energy of the sun into power. For this, we have first put together a solar panel made of highly efficient solar cells, which are otherwise only used in space travel. Thus, the main energy needs of the sun car can be covered during the race. In order not to have to stop directly in cloudy skies, we have also built a compact battery with high energy density, which allows caching of solar energy. Finally, in order to be able to convert the electrical energy into mechanical driving force, we have developed an ironless axial flow motor. This is operated with a specially optimized for solar racing car inverter.

In addition to the power supply also the communication of all electrical components is realized with each other via the electrical system. In order to enable the control of the vehicle, an on-board computer has been developed, which communicates with all electrical components of the vehicle. It acts as an interface between the vehicle and the driver. Among other things, an electronic system for reading the “accelerator pedal” was developed and the associated control of the inverter was programmed. At the same time, the computer collects all the messages and data that communicate the electrical components via the vehicle electrical system, and provides them via radio to the companion vehicle of the solar car. Also for this the appropriate hardware with associated code was developed and implemented. In addition to reliability, the main focus in platinum design was on efficient implementation.

The aerodynamic design of a wing allows us to use the sail effect. Compared to our solar car from the year 2017, we halved the resistance.

Christoph Glasmacher – head of aerodynamics

In the beginning is the Aero. In order to be successful at the World Solar Challenge in Australia, an aerodynamic design is indispensable.
We develop the outer shell of our vehicle and are therefore responsible for the overall concept and are in close contact with the other departments.

 

Our goal is to develop a low-drag, ride-stable and performance-optimized design for our solar car. We are confident that our development work will deliver world-class design through advanced CFD simulations, wind tunnel testing, intelligent system integration and ongoing model optimization.
For this we not only optimize wind from the front, but also use crosswinds to sail like a boat, thereby further reducing our resistance.

5327 lines of code, 15 months preparation, 10^99000 Possible speed profiles, 370 days weather data, 10 vehicle parameters

Felix Meyer – head of driving strategy

All the information about the solar car, the weather conditions and the race course go together here. Our strategists form the head of the team during the race. With sophisticated algorithms and state-of-the-art measuring technology, they determine the optimum speed and steering position of the sun car.

 

Tasks include transmitting vehicle data, calculating the fastest, most energy-efficient speed, and communicating with the driver and the rest of the team. In addition, the strategists this year rely on their own weather and distance measurements and intelligent monitoring of the sun car. So they are always one step ahead of the competition.