Axalta celebrates World Solar Challenge success in Australia

02 November 2017

Axalta Coating Systems is celebrating the success of two student teams at the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge 2017, a competition of experimental solar cars that took place October 8-15, 2017 in Australia.

The Bochum SolarCar Team and The Punch Powertrain Solar Team both developed effective and reliable solar vehicles that successfully completed a 3,021 kilometres race from Darwin to Adelaide.

Both teams were supported by Axalta, who provided them with coatings as well as technical assistance and expertise.

"Our support of these young talented engineers reflects Axalta’s commitment to engaging with the communities in which we work, to our technological innovations, and to our passion for motorsports.

"But moreover it reflects our strategic vision of a more sustainable future dominated by energy-efficient, zero-emission transportation systems,” said Matthias Schönberg, Vice President of Axalta and President for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA).

The thyssenkrupp blue.cruiser, the World Solar Challenge entry of The SolarCar Team from Bochum University of Applied Sciences in Germany, crossed the finish line first of only three teams to complete the race in the given timeframe and was ranked second overall out of the eleven teams in the Cruiser Class.

The results were based on solar kilometres travelled, passenger kilometres, speed, energy efficiency, design and practicality – where the team received the highest score for its desirability – and represented an improvement from their 2015 entry, which came third in its class.

Axalta’s technical specialists used their extensive motorsports experience when painting the solar car in order to achieve an outstanding appearance while still keeping the weight on the carbon fibre body to a minimum.

The Punch Two, designed by the Punch Powertrain Solar Team made up of engineering students from the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium, finished third in a field of 14 in the Challenger Class, an improvement on its results from the 2015 race.

The Team also won the innovation award with their new four-wheel steering system that enabled them to "sail on the road", using the energy of the wind to gain some extra speed.

The Punch Powertrain Solar Team was supported by Cromax, one of Axalta’s premium refinish brands.

Cromax technical specialists not only painted the car but also helped the team to achieve its energy-saving goals by limiting energy use thanks to highly innovative paint systems from Cromax.

Schönberg added: "Axalta’s business is driven by innovative technology aimed at continuous improvement of the products and services we deliver to our clients.

"By supporting these two solar car teams we not only complement our business philosophy, but also we underscore our passion for innovation and our commitment to sustainability.”

The Bridgestone World Solar Challenge, which celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2017, is a world-famous competition of experimental solar cars that serves to encourage development and implementation of energy-efficient, zero-emission transportation technologies around the globe.

During the race, which takes place in Australia every two years, the cars must cross the continent, travelling for more than 3,000 kilometres, in one of the world’s most challenging landscapes.

The rules stipulate that 90% of the car’s energy should come from the sun or be recovered from the kinetic energy of the vehicle.

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