Two-time winners of the Sasol Solar Challenge, the Nuon Solar Team showcase their solar car, the Nuna9S, at the Netherlands Embassy ahead of the 2018 Challenge, starting on 22 September.
 Picture: Thobile Mathonsi / African News Agency (ANA)
Pretoria - A team of students from the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands have expressed confidence they will retain their championship title in the Sasol Solar Challenge, set to kick off in Pretoria on 22 September and finish in Stellenbosch in the Western Cape, seven days later.

Known as the Nuon Solar Team, the 10 students have already bagged 11 gold medals, including two consecutive wins in the Sasol competition. They will take part in the competition by demonstrating how their solar-powered car, called Nuna9S, can travel without a single drop of fuel for eight days.

The Embassy of the Netherlands hosted the team this week to give them an opportunity to showcase Nuna9S. The team made a short presentation about the vehicle to representatives from different companies and institutions active in the renewable energy sector.

Leader Jelle van der Lugt, 24, said his team was looking forward to taking part in the 5000km biennial race.

“The secret is to collect as many kilometres as possible in eight days" Van der Lugt said. "The team will have three drivers who will take turns driving.”

Cruise control

He said the team’s journey of building solar-powered vehicles started in 1999 in Holland, and described Nuna9S - the 9th car made by the team from the Netherlands - as the most intelligent solar car in the world, with cruise control that can adjust to its surroundings and recognise traffic, hills and animals.

The single-seat car is incredibly light, with a total weight of 140kg,and can drive at 120km/h; it has a big side mirror like a regular car and is energy efficient. 

"The motto was that we are going to do the best we can and my team did pretty good," he said. "We also got help from Wubbo Ochels (a famous Dutch physicist and an astronaut of the European Space Agency), who used all his knowledge to help us build the car. We were also inspired by the movie Race the Sun, which featured actress Halle Berry."

The biennial competition draws teams from across the world and participants design and build solar-powered vehicles with some ground-breaking innovations and some never-before-seen technologies.

Pretoria News