Thursday, July 20, 2017

WSC 2017 Update: July 20th

We're down to 46 teams; MIT disappeared off the list this week.

Challenger Class

Status: Unveiled! Michigan unveiled Novum on July 7th.

No updates of note since then.

The unveiling of Nuna9 is coming really soon (on July 25th), and Nuon has started posting some teaser shots to social media. There's not too much to show, but from this photo we can see that the car has a tall tunnel down the middle, a very narrow array airfoil (8-9" thick), and a very thin non-driver-side wheel fairing.

This photo does not reveal as much, but gives an idea of the thickness of the car.

Finally, they posted a partial head-on silhouette with their unveiling announcement. I played around with this a little bit in Photoshop and I'm convinced that it's completely fictional - it's not a photo that has been dimmed; it's a photo of a headlight that is overlaid onto a pure-black shape.

Speculation: Based on the first suspension image, I think it's reasonably clear that Nuon is building a catamaran with the driver on the right (as they did with Nuna7 and Nuna8). I suspect that it will be a 3-fairing car, however, with individual wheel fairings on the non-driver side.

4: Antakari

More car construction videos and photos on their Facebook and Instagram.

6: MIT

MIT is no longer listed on the official WSC teams list :(

There's no announcement of the team's situation on their social media accounts, so I have no idea what happened. Based on the photo on their WSC team profile, it appeared that they had completed their car!

7: Adelaide University

No updates of note in the past week.

8: Punch Powertrain

Status: Unveiled! Punch unveiled Punch Two on June 21st.

Just after I published last week's post, the team published a video of Punch Two driving next to their previous two cars - I always like it when teams keep a few of their old cars in driving shape. The video also notes Punch Two's weight as 145kg, vs 165kg for Punch One and 185kg for Indupol One.

Currently the team is taking it easy and doing some teambuilding between testing sessions this week. They also note that the car will ship to Australia in one month.

10: Tokai

Still no news about Tokai's 2017 car. I'm curious to see if Tokai will try some sort of bullet car along with Michigan/CUER/Kogakuin. If they do, it will probably be a 4sqm silicon array - their WSC team profile mentions Panasonic solar cells, which I'm assuming refers to the HIT cells that Tokai has had exclusive access to since 2011.

No updates in the past week.

13: Polytech Solar

No updates of note in the past week - but another photo of the composite body.

15: WSU

WSU announced an official unveiling date: August 29th. If you watch the announcement video carefully, you can see the silhouette of their car... with an extremely long, thin front overhang.

Screenshot of the video linked above
Some "quality" MSPaint enhancement from your pal MostDece

The front overhang looks like it is almost 1/3rd the overall length of the car. Reminds me a lot of Stanford's Xenith, although not quite as extreme on the front overhang.

16: Stanford

Status: Unveiled! Stanford unveiled Sundae on July 1st.

There haven't been any updates of note since then.

18: UiTM EcoPhoton

No updates to speak of in the past week.

20: Durham

Status: Shipped! Durham shipped their car to Australia on July 18th.

21: Twente

Status: Unveiled! Twente unveiled Red Shift on June 23rd.

No updates of note in the past week.

22: MDH

Status: Unveiled! The team unveiled way back on May 31st.

No noteworthy updates since unveiling.

25: Nagoya Institute of Technology

Status: Unveiled! I don't think there was a formal unveiling event, but NIT has been testing Horizon 17 on Bridgestone's test track.

(image source)

The car is still bare carbon and bondo, but it's good to be out testing as early as the car is drivable.

28: Neul-Hae-Rang

Reader and frequent commenter Nigel found this team's Facebook page for me. The page prominently features a red, white, and orange catamaran with comically tiny wheels - but I don't think this is the car they're bringing to WSC. There are also photos of new GHCraft wheels and a Mitsuba motorcomposites work on a new catamaran lower body, and a solar array being installed on a new upper body.

29: Siam Tech (Edison)

Not much of note in the past week - some frame welding photos on Facebook.

32: Principia

Status: Unveiled! There wasn't a formal unveiling event, but the team took Ra X to Formula Sun in Texas, July 3-8.

The team is currently road testing Ra X and preparing for shipping.

34: RVCE

The team posted another "launch event coming soon" image to follow the one last week, but still no date.

37: Goko High School

I've never been able to find any social media from this team, so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. Based on their WSC team profile, their car appears to be finished, and that's all I know.

38: North-West University

The team is currently running a crowdfunding campaign to help finish the car. Public unveiling of Naledi is scheduled for August 22nd.

43: Australia National University

No updates since last week.

46: Jonkoping University

The team have announced on Facebook and Instagram that Solveig will be unveiled on August 28th.

70: Sonnenwagen Aachen

Status: Unveiled! The team unveiled Huawei Sonnenwagen today, July 20th!

(image source)

You can see in this tweet that the car is built with a steel space-frame chassis.

71: Istanbul Technical University

No news of note in the past week, although the team has posted a new render.

72: Proton

No updates this week. Their team profile on the WSC site is still completely blank.

77: Blue Sky

No updates this week.

82: Kookmin University

Status: Unveiled! Kookmin unveiled Taegeuk on July 7th.

No updates since then.

88: Kogakuin University

Status: Unveiled! Kogakuin unveiled Wing on June 29th.

The team had a busy week - like NIT, they have been driving on Bridgestone's test track, and afterward they did a full teardown and inspection of the car:

(image source)

They also posted some interesting photos of the front suspension.

(image source)

(image source)

Note the multi-link setup, as well as the pull-rod linkage to the fore-aft mounted inboard shock. I'm scratching my head about how far forward the steering axis appears to be from the spindle. Maybe they're hoping the high-trail setup will make the narrow car be more stable and track straighter?

This is an interesting post. If I'm understanding the translation and looking at the photos correctly, Wing has 4-wheel steering, and the rear wheels are hydraulically steered.

Finally, for those of us wondering how the driver gets in and out, wonder no longer.

Cruiser Class

5: SunSPEC

Status: Unveiled! Singapore Polytechnic unveiled SunSPEC 5 on July 21st - just after I originally published this post.

(image source)

9: PrISUm

Status: Unveiled! Iowa State unveiled Penumbra on June 2nd.

Not much to note from the team this week. In last week's post, I missed this video that the team released a while back. It's a cute little video, but I cringe every time they refer to it as a Solar SUV. How more stereotypically American can you get?

Status: Shipped! The team shipped Blue.Cruiser out to Australia on July 11th.

We won't hear much until the car lands down under.

14: Flinders

Nothing noteworthy this week.

23: University of Tehran

No updates this week.

30: Team Arrow

No updates this week.

33: Cairo University

No updates this week.

35: IVE Sophie

Status: Unveiled! IVE unveiled Sophie VI on July 1st.

No significant news since then.

40: Eindhoven

Status: Unveiled! Eindhoven unveiled Stella Vie on June 21st.

There's not too much to report this week, although this video has some interesting details. The car weighs 375kg, is 1.65m wide, and 5m long. It also only has a 12kWh battery pack!

In 2015, Cruiser teams were allowed 60kg of lithium batteries - which worked out to almost exactly 15kW of storage. All five of the teams that finished maxed out the size of their battery (and the battery mass limit was similar in 2013: 66kg of Li-poly, 63kg of Li-ion). This year, battery mass is unrestricted - and due to the way the Cruiser class is scored, the size of the battery has major race strategy implications.

Eindhoven is down on solar array (6sqm->5sqm, as mandated by the regs), up on occupants, but has voluntarily cut down the size of their battery pack. Iiiiinteresting!


No updates this week.

45: Lodz

Status: Unveiled, and Shipped! Lodz unveiled Eagle Two on July 14th, and shipped to Australia on July 17th.

The team posted a great video overview of the car. It's a 4-door car, and note at 0:10: 3 across seating in the back row! Like Eindhoven, Lodz is fielding a 5-seater this year.

There's also a good comparison shot to 2015's Eagle One on Instagram. Eagle Two is visibly lower, longer, and sleeker.

Not really much of note this week. The team posted some more chassis photos to Facebook.

75: UNSW Sunswift

Sunswift published a new teaser video on YouTube this past week. It's... perhaps a tad over-produced? A little dramatic? I remember my old team making something similar when we let our media folks off the leash...

From what little detail can be seen, it's pretty clear Violet will be a 4-door. The video ends with "Expect Greatness: September 2017", so I guess we'll be waiting quite a while for the public unveiling.

They've also updated the background of their website with a little teaser pan over a rendering. The video is easily extracted from the website. I used my very finest MSPaint skills to stitch a few frames together and trace over it:

Only the best MSPaint for you, my dear readers.

It looks low and sleek with a short hood and a long deck. Slight wrap-around windshield as well, which should look a lot more graceful that eVe's windshield did.

94: University of Minnesota

Status: Unveiled! Minnesota unveiled Eos II on July 11th.

The team recently posted some photos from a wind tunnel trip that was prior to unveiling. They're also running a crowdfunding campaign to raise money for WSC.

Status: Unveiled! KUAS unveiled Apollo VIII on June 29th.

No updates from the team since then.

Adventure Class

52: Illini Solar Car

Nothing of note in the past week.

53: Mississippi Choctaw High School

I don't have any social media links or a blog for this team so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯


  1. So it's confirmed that Wing has 4 wheel steering

    The big question for me is - why?

    Because we can?


    1. The same reason Tokai has traditionally done 4-wheel steering: You don't need to turn the wheels as much to achieve the minimum U-turn diameter required in the rules, so the wheel fairings can be thinner. Or in Kogakuin's case, so they can keep the track width as wide as possible within the body.

      I think the weird high-trail steering up front is also all about keeping the wheels within the envelope of the body. If you look at following photo, you can see that they have a lot more width to play with at the back of the wheels than at the front:

    2. With the short wheelbase I wouldn't have thought that the turning circle would be an issue(in scrutineering at least) but you are right about the track width. CUER had that issue with Resolution and ended up using flexible wheel covers. And now you mention it, I actually asked them at the time if they'd considered four wheel steering.


  2. On those photos - even with no canopy on the car I cannot conceive how anyone other than a contortionist can get into that car. Resolution was just about impossible for anyone of normal build to get into, Evolution not much easier, but they are open topped. To get into that sort of space but also ducking under that array defies belief, but clearly they manage somehow.


    1. Eh, I've gotten out of some pretty tight solar cars. I was a lot more flexible when I was 20...

  3. So Nuon went public. And their car has a lot of similarities with Punch 2 from Belgium. Both use the multi junction cells and have built a very small catamaran. Interesting to see how the different design choices will turn out performance wise: Nuon/Punch vs Kogakuin/Michigan vs Twente with their 4sqm SI array and some technical innovations under the hood up their sleeve. Curious to see what Tokai comes up with.

    1. Yes, Nuna9 certainly resembles Punch Two: neither car has any front overhang to speak of. Nuna9 goes a step further by eliminating the rear overhang entirely, as well as the left/right overhang at the rear corners.

      Punch Two is *not* a multi-junction array, it's very clearly mono-crystalline silicon.

      I'm not sure what Nuon is using for the array on Nuna9. They don't look like any silicon cells that I'm familiar with, but the array is waaaaay larger than the maximum 2.64sqm of multi-junction GaAs cells. It might be a 3.56sqm thin-film GaAs array, though...

    2. It is mentioned in the text of the Nuna9 introduction that they have a 2.64sqm array (in Dutch: Met slechts 2,64 m^2 zonnepaneel).
      And Punch's array doesn't look bigger than Nuon's, but they do seem to have some spare space on the body.


    3. Searched through the Punch site in more detail and they mention that they have a 4sqm array. The Belgian car is with 145 kg 10 kg heavier than Nuna9.

    4. Erik: if you saw them call out 2.64sqm, fair enough (do you have a link?)

      Nuon's array certainly *looks* like a multi-junction gallium array. The car looks much bigger than I would expect for a 2.64sqm array, but then again, sometimes it's really hard to get a sense of scale from photographs.

    5. Never mind - should have done a google search before replying, I've found several references to a 2.64sqm array on Nuna9.

    6. OK. Interesting too that Nuon have chosen to keep the car the same width (wheel base) as their previous car for stability rather than reducing the frontal area by going for long and narrow. I am sure that over the next few weeks we will get more info of the dimensions of all the cars to fuel all our speculations. I always like this part of WSC almost as much as the actual race itself...

  4. Great article hopefully start seeing some of these come into production they have a very unique style about them.