The Dutch Nuon Solar Team finished as the winner of the 2013 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge in Australia with their Nuna7 solar car. The team had already won four times and with this fifth victory they are the absolute world record holder. The light-weight and robust imc µ-CANSAS V1 CAN-bus modules provided by imc played a significant role in the incredibly important energy management.
The Bridgestone World Solar Challenge
This 3,000 km long race, straight through the Australian Outback, is renowned for pushing the boundaries of sunlight powered cars. Every two years, more than 30 teams from universities all over the world take on the challenge to race from Darwin to Adelaide, putting their innovations and technology to the extreme test.
A masterpiece of engineering
This year’s edition of the race was radically different from previous races. New regulations required the car to drive on four wheels instead of just three, as was the case in all previous editions. As a result, the car had to be designed completely from scratch by the students from the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands. It all started roughly two years ago, when the team began the designing of the car. All systems were newly designed, the aerodynamics were perfected and eventually, by carefully laminating and fitting the carbon layers, the team was able to create an incredibly solid but light solar car weighing just 145 kilograms. While this is just the outside, the inside of the car features a plethora of advanced and top-notch equipment. Think about a 98% efficient electrical motor, allowing the car to recover kinetic energy through regenerative breaking. Since the car uses a CAN-bus based electric system it was easy to incorporate the three light and robust imc data acquisition modules.
Beyond battery measurement
The imc µ-CANSAS V1 CAN-bus modules in Nuna7 accurately measured analog voltages and converted them into CAN-messages. These monitored voltages allowed the team to have a real-time and very accurate view of the incoming and outgoing energy. Such measurement data generated insights that were essential to the team’s strategy and tactical operations during the race. This accurate measurement of the energy flows in the car turned out to be key in winning this race.
The Nuna7 team incorporated so called ‘concentrators’ - extra panels with lenses that concentrate sunlight on tiny, extremely efficient, solar cells by a factor of 1100. These panels were carried under the hood of the car and put into action during the mandatory 30 minute pit stops, to charge the car more quickly than the competition could. The imc support and equipment allowed the Nuon Solar Team to perform all necessary analysis. The Nuna7 won the 2013th edition of the race to Adelaide with an average speed of 90.71 km/h.
(c) Copyright: Solar vehicle pictures: Nuon Solar Team