Despite several setbacks and minor accidents, the Nuon Solar Team won the eight-day race for solar-powered vehicles from Pretoria to Cape Town for the second time. They crossed the finish line just 173 kilometres ahead of their main competitor from the University of Tokai in Japan – the smallest difference ever. Two years ago the lead over the second-place finisher was 1,500 kilometres.
The race was not always smooth sailing for the Nuon Solar Team. Before departure the solar car crashed on the test track in the Netherlands. After being completely repaired, the Nuna collided with a barrier on the second day of the race, damaging the nose. Over the following days the team were confronted with strong winds and were even forced to stop by the police. The fact that the team were able to win despite these unforeseen conditions is largely due to excellent cooperation in the team, says team manager Sjoerd Stevens.
"During the past year we have focused extra attention on the operation of our team and the various roles of the team members. Now we are reaping the benefits."
Sasol Solar Challenge in South Africa
The Sasol Solar Challenge started on 24 September. The Nuon Solar Team participated with the Nuna8s – an upgraded version of the Nuna8 solar vehicle that took them to first place last year in the World Solar Challenge in Australia. In South Africa, the goal was to have the teams rack up as many kilometres as possible. The team from TU Delft finished with 4,717 kilometres, enough to beat their main competitors Tokai (4,545 kilometres) and Megalux (4,033 kilometres).
The Nuon Solar Team, composed of students from TU Delft, have been racing all over the world since 2001, and have won the world title six times in Australia in the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge. One of the objectives of their participation in the race in South Africa was to test newly conceived technologies sufficiently to enable the team to create a good basis for a new world title next year in Australia.