Solar-powered. Self-sufficient. Powerful. A real electric off-road vehicle, built by students.
The student project SolarBuggy brings solar electromobility to the off-road segment. The Solar Buggy is not just a solar-powered vehicle, but rather an electric off-road buggy which is powered by a complete solar array.
The Solar Buggy team emerged from the SolarCar project at Bochum University of Applied Sciences. The first Solar Buggy “Open World” was able to conquer an 829Km-off-road-stretch on the Tanami Road in Australia.
Work on the project is organised along the lines of Problem Based Learning (PBL). In this way, the students gradually take responsibility for their own learning process. The team is faced with real problems and they develop suitable solutions in an interdisciplinary fashion. The team is exclusively organised by students, including all members and team leaders. The current team has around twenty members who come from all engineering faculties.
Currently, the team is building their second vehicle, “Froggee”. Dakar Rally winner Eric Vigouroux and the ruhrvalley company AUKTORA, who supply the vehicle frame are giving the team their support. This vehicle will be used to travel the French Line in the Australian Simpson Desert and break the Guinness record “Fastest crossing of the Simpson Desert by solar-powered land vehicle.” It will be the first wholly self-built solar-powered vehicle to cross this desert. The prototype will also the potential of renewable energies in the automotive branch.
The “Froggee, unlike the first Solar Buggy, is not a modified conventionally powered buggy, but rather the completion of an unfinished electric buggy. It is powered by two electric motors, one on each axle, which make it an all-wheel drive vehicle. It uses a 15kWh battery to store energy and functions on the high-volt end with 400V. In order to conquer the sand dunes, the buggy needs a powerful gearbox, with a gearbox ratio of 1:2.9. The heart of the vehicle is a solar array of 40m², which can charge the batteries in the desert within three hours. This size is possible by using four folding modules of 10m² each, installed on a movable tubular frame, which allow the array to align with the sun. This is a unique, innovative solution; folding solar arrays, at least of this size, have only been used in space. The design is based on an origami model created by the astrophysicist Koryo Miura, which NASA already uses in a similar form.
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