The Nuon Solar Team from Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands has just revealed the lightest, most aerodynamic solar car yet to have come out of their Nuna line, which dominated the biannual World Solar Challenge in Australia from 2001 to 2007. The Nuon team lost the 2009 1800-mile challenge to the Tokai University team, but now they're back with the Nuna6, a solar car that is half the weight of the original 2001 Nuna car, 15 inches shorter, and has 10 percent less air resistance.
The Nuna6 uses silicon solar cells, which according to the competition’s new rules allows them to use 6 square meters of the cells instead of 3 square meters of “other photovoltaic technology.” The team is hoping that the increased amount of the less efficient cells (22% instead of 34% with the Gallium-Arsenide cells used in Nuon5) will give them an edge.
Team leader Pier van Zonneveld says that most teams in the competition have been mimicking the design of the Nuon cars for years. “All the solar vehicles at the World Solar Challenge look more and more like the early Nunas that won races for the Nuon Solar Team. This trend is irrefutable proof of our success. Our team just needs to stay one step ahead of our competitors. With Nuna6 we intend to bring the solar racing world cup home to Delft again.” The World Solar Challenge takes place in October of this year. We will keep you up to date on the Nuon Team’s performance, as well as any other front-runners who rise to challenge them.
Photos by Jorrit Lousberg