Solar car racing refers to electric vehicle challenges which are powered only by solar energy generated by solar panels on the surface of the car.
Challenges are often entered by University teams to develop their students' engineering and technological skills. REAP has supported teams that have entered the World Solar Challenge (Australia) and the South African Solar Challenge. These events are held every two years covering 3000 to 4000 km with the aim of designing the world’s most efficient electric car. The teams drive during the day and then camp overnight. Strict regulations define the allowable nominal kW hours of stored energy for different cell chemistries. After starting with a fully charged battery, all energy must come from the sun or can be recovered from the vehicle kinetic energy during braking. The aim is therefore to design a lightweight, highly efficient vehicle that balances vehicle aerodynamics against solar array efficiency.
The car pictured on the right contains REAP technology and was built by TU Delft from the Netherlands.
REAP supports teams with battery management electronics, batteries modules and technical support for integration and tuning. Our products can act as an energy management system on the vehicle level.
As the REAPsystems' off-the-shelf BMS works on a vehicle level, there are numerous additional components it may manage. The solar cells and the main charger are both under BMS control, as is the motor controller and regenerative braking system. The BMS tracks the battery state of charge and the current passing in and out of the battery. The system must be safe, but also easy to use and reliable over long distances at high operating temperatures. The system also allows logging and monitoring of data, which allows the team to optimise race strategy whilst minimising unnecessary power consumption.
"Solarfox travelled from Darwin to Adelaide and the battery performed flawlessly during the event...During scrutineering, the battery expert Dr Rand commented that the battery was one of the best presented in recent events! The completed boxes were sturdy and survived the journey well. - Thanks for all your help, the batteries were a great success and impressed all who saw them - Dr Rand was convinced the pack was second to none."
UCL's SolarFoxEngineering Director