This is the solar-powered 'BOcruiser,' presented yesterday in the western German city of Bochum. Set to compete in the 3,000 km (1,864 mi) World Solar Challenge later this month in Australia, it's certainly an odd-looking solar car.

The Bochum University of Applied Sciences (Germany) yesterday presented a new solar car, they call the "BOcruiser" — named for the Bochum University of Applied Sciences that built it. A team of around 30 engineering students built this four-wheeled solar car.

Photo Credit: VOLKER HARTMANN/AFP/Getty Images

As you'd expect, energy efficiency was the BOcruiser's top goal. Its body is streamlined and in addition to the car's proven prize-winning technology, such as its battery management system, other innovative components were used as well. For instance, the workshops and labs at the Bochum University of Applied Sciences engineered an in-wheel motor that will power both the "BOcruiser" and other vehicles in the pipeline. This involved solving a whole range of problems, because the new vehicle is propelled by two motors. According to the scientists, for weight and efficiency-related reasons, it was not possible to use a mechanical differential transmission. Instead, electronics and software are to determine the variability of the wheels' peripheral speed in curves. As with the predecessor, six square meters of solar cells provide electric power. In this area too, the technology used is becoming more viable for everyday use. Silicon has replaced the costly gallium arsenide in the solar generator.

Photo Credit: VOLKER HARTMANN/AFP/Getty Images

In order to reduce weight, only the bare minimum of paint was to be applied, a demand not unlike those posed for Formula 1 racers, for which every ounce counts. For this project, the Lennartz spray-painting team chose Glasurit 22 Line HS 2K Topcoat. "No more than one and one-half layers of paint, but nevertheless fulfill the basic functions of the paint finish, like protection, durability and design," Lennartz said. In comparison, a new car is generally finished with four coats of paint (e-coat, primer, basecoat, clearcoat). Lennartz applied the primer to only some parts of the vehicle's exterior before topcoating it with 22 Line, which has a high degree of hiding power, allowing him to dispense with a clearcoat.


The solar car will have its first real-life test in October at the World Solar Challenge, cruising 3000 kilometres (1,864 miles) through the Australian outback. Project manager Professor Friedbert Pautzke commented: "Our motivation for building this car was not to be first to cross the finish line at the race. The BOcruiser is part of our series of solar vehicles that is consistently taking the next innovative step toward everyday use. It will be proving its ability to take to the roads for the first time in the race Down Under."

Photo Credit: VOLKER HARTMANN/AFP/Getty Images

[via ATZOnline, PresseBox]