Winners of the e-CROSS Germany

Winners of the e-CROSS Germany

In early September four members of Sonnenwagen Aachen participated on an electric road trip through Northrine-Westphalia. At e-CROSS Germany, a climate-neutral rally with the vision to promote zero-emission mobility, the Sonnenwagen team members challenged themselves. But was our performance good enough to get a spot on the podium? Let’s start from the beginning.

Invitation to the e-CROSS Germany by the boss himself!

Due to our presence at the “Aachen goes electro” day, Jens Ohlemeyer, the organizer of the e-CROSS Germany, became aware of us. He told us about his event and invited us to enter this contest. Motivated to promote the popularity of electric vehicles and to further expand the level of awareness of our project, we were immediately hooked. When even the cars, a Twike 3 and a KIA Soul EV, were provided, the last obstacle was cleared.

Electric cars…

The four-day tour was divided into two parts: The primary special stage and the NRW rally. Since Sonnenwagen provided two teams in two vehicles we decided to meet first in Bielefeld.

To get on a vehicle with the latest technology and then read the maximum speed of only 180 km/h on the speedometer felt strange. But we soon experienced that a maximum velocity of 110 km/h was actually sufficient. As a precaution, we still decided to refuel in-between, since you never know.

Finally arriving the charging station, we were faced with the next challenge, the actual power access.

vw-bus

Since we only had little experience with the rapid charging system CHAdeMO we used the tried and trusted Schuko Plug.

Thus instead of only half an hour it took us four hours until we finally arrived in Bielefeld. There we came across an old VW T2 van that was completely restored with an electric powertrain. We were fascinated.

After this very educational prelude, we were looking forward to our first rally where we would officially participate as team “Sonnenwagen”.

Do it yourself

We spent most of the Friday trying to become familiar with the vehicle. In the first task we were supposed to “kick” a big exercise ball with the front of the car over a certain distance. But due to the conical nose of the Twike 3, the faithful companions had just buried the ball under itself. So Enno saw himself forced (after consultation with the judges) to take the matter into his own hands and kicked the ball with his foot.

These teething troubles assured us that there was still much room for improvement. They let us gain a lot of experience. Tasks such as blind reverse parking under the direction of the front passenger and along with all sorts of skills and puzzle games, increased our confidence in ourselves bit by bit. At the end of the second day Mrs. Kleinschmidt, one of the most successful women in the German motorsports, gave us a ride to our sleeping place in the new Tesla Model X.

It’s getting serious – The rally begins.

The Saturday came and with it the beginning of the official part of the e-CROSS rally. Led by different models of Tesla, a convoy with all the participating electric cars drove around the exhibition area of the E-Mobility event. As advocates of the e-mobility Heinz Harald Frentzen, a retired German professional racing driver, and Jutta Kleinschmidt were also of the party. The two participated in Tesla’s Model X as guests of honour.

On the way to victory we mastered various challenges, sometimes in conventional, sometimes in rather unconventional way. Hard bargaining skills, which we had tested during the bumper ball session, helped us at the pedal boat competition, too. As a result, we were allowed by the jury, to swim around the buoy instead of doing so by pedal boat. This concession might be attributed to the charm of Enno Dülberg, or the increased entertainment value that brings the sight of a waterlogged, though firmly resolute student with it.

At the next station, one had to identify the colour of jelly bears by their taste. As soon as this information went public, we also did it in style. We boosted the sales of jelly bears by buying a decent amount of these sweets for the purpose of practice. True to the motto: “Tis early practice only makes the master “, we grudged no pain to absolve a hard training that would prepare ourselves optimally for this task.
After further challenges, such as completion of a mini-golf course or optimum placement of pull back vehicles, we already had a good feeling. Thus, we were convinced by the end of the fourth day, that the exertions would pay off.

Presentation ceremony

Arrived in Aachen, our last stop, we were now waiting for the award ceremony. Enno and his teammate Florian were asked to position themselves with the TWIKE 3 in front of the stage. Since all the other vehicles were ordered to park elsewhere, we took this as a good omen. Very correctly as it turned out. PEM Team RWTH and the team from Hagen were both left far behind by the first place winners.  “Sonnenwagen Aachen”.

E-CROSS Germany is an important contribution, to make the e-mobility popular in Germany and to push its further development. Moreover, it was nice to meet new people with the same belief in sustainability and to support them. We are pleased to have been part of this annual event.
Thanks to everyone involved for their hard work!