Tuesday 07 April 2020

Devasted Delft students watch as solar car burns to ash in Australia race

Photo: Vattenfall Solar Team

The solar powered car built by Delft university engineers has burned to a heap of ash  just 300 kilometres from the finish of the World Solar Challenge in Australia.

The Delft team were leading the race in the NunaX, when the driver spotted smoke, and was able to escape. ‘We have clear protocols and the safety of the driver is paramount,’ spokeswoman Emie Klein Holkenborg said. ‘That is why we were not able to put out the flames.’

The cause of the fire has not yet been established and the team say they will study video recordings to try and find out what happened. The car was made entirely of carbon fibre.

It is the first time in 20 years that the Delft team will not have completed the 3,021 kilometre race to Adelaide. They have won seven times, including the previous three.

On Wednesday, the team from Twente University had to pull out after a strong gust of wind blew their car from the road, causing serious damage.

The Twente team was leading the race at the time.

In total, 53 teams from 24 different countries are taking part, including teams from Eindhoven, Enschede and Groningen.

The Eindhoven team is taking part in the race for cruisers, which involves energy usage and comfort as well as speed.

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