For a few years now, a team of highly motivated students from RWTH Aachen University and FH Aachen has been working on the question of how to make electric mobility even more sustainable.
Their goal is to develop a solar-powered electric car to take part in the toughest solar car races in the world.
After successfully participating in the World Solar Challenge in Australia in 2017 as 'Best Newcomer' and the achievement of third place at the European Solar Challenge 2018, the team now wants to take the next step and challenge the current world leaders from Stanford, Delft and Cambridge in the World Solar Challenge 2019.
Covestro, a leading global provider of innovative and sustainable material solutions, shares the students' enthusiasm and will work with them to push existing boundaries to make the project a success.
The company has a long-standing partnership with the renowned RWTH Aachen University and, following the successful and fruitful cooperation in the 2017 season, is supporting the solar car project with a variety of materials and technical services, as well as being the main sponsor.
Both partners have now signed a cooperation agreement on the project.
"Sustainability is a core component of our corporate strategy, and solar mobility can make an important contribution to climate protection and the conservation of fossil resources," said Dr Markus Steilemann, CEO of Covestro.
"That is why we are supporting this ambitious project and intensifying our cooperation with the Sonnenwagen team.
"We use our innovative materials to provide solutions for future mobility.
"With this project, we are also promoting young talent.”
Markus Eckstein, first Chairman of the Sonnenwagen team, welcomed the extended partnership: "We are very pleased to have Covestro back as a supporter.
"The cooperation with Covestro was already an important mainstay at the recent World Solar Challenge and helped us to reach the finish line in Adelaide as ´Best Newcomer'.
"The Sonnenwagen team can once again benefit from the high level of material expertise.”
Innovative materials for future mobility
The Leverkusen-based company has already gained some experience in solar mobility with innovative material developments: As an official partner of the Solar Impulse project, it made an important contribution to the success of the first manned, round-the-world flight with an airplane powered only by solar energy.
The test of a polyurethane car repair clearcoat from PPG at the World Challenge 2017, in which the biobased hardener Desmodur® eco N 7300 from Covestro was used, was also successful.
It also withstood the harsh climatic conditions in Australia.
The material and development cooperation will now be further expanded for 2019.
A Covestro development team will be involved in the production plans of the solar car in order to contribute to an even lighter and more aerodynamic solar car design.
World's toughest solar race
The World Solar Challenge is considered to be the toughest solar race on earth and celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2017.
Every two years, teams from all over the world compete to be the fastest to cover the 3000km stretch from Darwin to Adelaide with homemade vehicles – without a drop of fuel.