[EN] Vattenfall Solar Team presents 'Picasso among the solar cars' Nuna11

07/11/2021 Written by Steven Mitchell Tan
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BUSSUM - The Vattenfall Solar Team today presented the latest solar car: Nuna11. The car is full of innovative technical inventions. Most striking: Nuna11 is a tricycle with a special position of the third wheel and with a tilted solar panel. With the solar car, the team hopes to beat the world's top during the Solar Challenge Morocco this autumn.

The presentation took place in theater Spant! in Bussum. The special shape of Nuna11 follows from the bold choice for two wheels on the right, and one wheel on the left. That is best for the aerodynamics of the solar car, explains team leader Christiaan Wiers. “Traditional tricycles have the third wheel center front or center rear. Then the air has to go around a wheel in three places. By choosing two wheels on the right – in front and behind the driver – and one wheel on the left, we only have air resistance in two places. This is the most aerodynamic shape imaginable.”

Three Wheel Catamaran

The chosen model is known in the solar racing world as the catamaran. With the predecessors Nuna9 and NunaX, the Vattenfall Solar Team showed that they can also make use of the wind. Thanks to the special design of Nuna11, this advantage can be combined with less rolling resistance due to three wheels. It is also striking that the solar panel is skewed. Wiers: “With this we create more downforce on the left wheel. That gives the car more stability in windy conditions and makes it faster and safer.”

Complex steering system

The choice for one wheel on the left and two on the right presented the team with a considerable challenge when it comes to the steering system, says team leader Wiers. “The wheels are not on the same axle, as is usual with cars. Still, they have to work together to make the right turn.” So a lot of creativity had to be involved to turn the dream of optimal aerodynamics into reality. “The slanted panel, the three wheels and the steering system make the Nuna11 special to see: the Picasso among the solar cars.”

Revolutionary motor controller

The new motor controller is less visible, but just as important an innovation. Previously, this part was purchased and the team had to choose between power – needed in hilly areas – and efficiency. Nuna11 features a self-designed controller that offers the best of both worlds. Team member Jasper Insinger worked on it for months, often late into the night. “A lot of hours went into testing all the different types of configurations. I thought it was a really cool challenge to get this done. With Nuna11 we can now accelerate faster, climb better and participate well in city traffic. Ideal for a race like in Morocco.”

New race in Morocco

The Vattenfall Solar Team hopes to participate in the Solar Challenge Morocco with the Nuna11 this autumn. Many world champions are taking part in the new race. That offers the seven-time world champion the chance to get revenge for the dramatic race in 2019 in Australia when the NunaX caught fire and was completely reduced to ashes. Whether the race actually goes ahead and the Vattenfall Solar Team can participate in it depends on the development of the corona pandemic and the corona measures. Team leader Wiers: "We are ready for revenge, so we hope that the corona situation allows it in October."