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NeilBlanchard 02-03-2012 11:28 AM

Q:What is this car? A: SolarWorld GT (Cd 0.14 solar car going around the world)
What is this car? Is it real?

NeilBlanchard 02-03-2012 11:57 AM

Found it!

Google Translate

Cd is 0.14 -- awesome!

Lots of pictures, and a video!

mcrews 02-03-2012 02:45 PM

nice find!

I could do without the wiper!

cfg83 02-03-2012 02:54 PM

Neil -

I like this shot :

I think I see some distant Pininfarina banana car DNA :


NeilBlanchard 02-03-2012 04:38 PM

They are currently just starting their 3,500 mile drive across the southern USA.

The events are open to the public and scheduled as follows:

• February 3, 4:00 PM – University of California Santa Barbara, Bren School of Environmental Management, Santa Barbara, California.
• February 6, 8:30 AM – SolarWorld Americas, Camarillo, California.
• February 10, 4:00 PM – Arizona State University, Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development, Tempe, Arizona.
• February 23, 4:00 PM – Texas Christian University, School of Geology, Energy and the Environment, Fort Worth, Texas.
• March 9, 4:00 PM – Florida A&M University, High Performance Materials Institute, Tallahassee, Florida.

Check out the video on the German site -- the back has a much smaller fascia than it might appear. The underside slopes up nicely...

botsapper 02-03-2012 05:07 PM

Great find & example! Quite relatively (to our jaded eyes) 'conventional' looking and a great real-world practical package. Wheels at the corners, side-by-side seating, relatively high ground clearance, large interior space, conventional doors and access panels, and doesn't have to look like a rigid aero-template.

It's OK, put another wheel in your ultimate aero project.

NachtRitter 02-03-2012 06:33 PM

That is very nice! Done by students, no less... !

NeilBlanchard 02-03-2012 11:51 PM

Here's a straight profile:

Darn close to the ideal profile, and the underside tapers upward nicely. If the wheel covers were not flat (in the back especially), and maybe with a narrower rear track, the drag could be even lower? But a Cd of 0.14 is a awesome achievement.

The wheels are the motors (4 wheel drive) and top speed is about 100kph. The PV cells total 835W (if my memory serves) and that means this car is very efficient. I wonder how long it takes to charge enough to drive and if they can sustain it at a decent speed in bright sun? The video shows a fairly small battery pack, so the buffer is what gets you through the shadows. Solar racers have to slow down in the sun to build up the charge, and then speed through the shadows. It makes driving them even more complicated, apparently.

It is great that the best looking solar car is also the most practical. I hope they can tell us what the Wh/mile are at say 45 or 55mph. Any guesses? I'd think about 50-60Wh/mile.

NeilBlanchard 02-04-2012 10:51 PM

Wow -- this is the best combination I could've come up with: a video of the SolarWorld GT car in New Zealand!

SolarWorld New Zealand - Peter Keil on Vimeo

NeilBlanchard 02-05-2012 11:24 PM

They hopefully will release some real world power consumption numbers. They seem to be capable of ~30Wh/mile, but now speed is specified, so it is probably fairly slow, like about 30MPH. Like all solar cars, they dance on the edge of consumption vs charging capacity. A little better aero could drop the consumption, and a few 100W more of charging capacity, and it would be fine.

The race rules seem to be all the charging has to come from the panels on the car. But if the battery pack was larger capacity and it had a plugin charger, then it might have enough reserve to push up a steeper grade and/or drive in lower light conditions, to make it far more practical?

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