Belgian Solar Team presents its most efficient solar vehicle yet

The Belgian Innoptus Solar Team, related to Louvain University, has presented a new version of its Infinite solar race car, the most efficient one to date. With it, they want to participate in the most challenging Solar Challenge race ever in South Africa in September.

In October 2023, the student team of KU Leuven University became the world champion in Australia with the earlier version of their car. In South Africa, they will meet even more challenging conditions: serious height differences, bustling city traffic, and extreme weather conditions.

Three innovations

To face the increased challenge, the Louvain-based students have focused on three significant innovations. First, they developed a digital twin version of the Infinite. Before and even during the race, engineering students can digitally dismantle their car to gain new insights into its functioning.

Secondly, from their experience, they know that efficient cooling of the engine and the battery is of the utmost importance. In South Africa, they will be driving through the desert and mountains, with the motor and battery prone to high-temperature swaps. By developing the most efficient cooling system, the car’s energy consumption may significantly decrease.

Finally, the outright efficiency of a solar car depends on aerodynamics. Of course, the Infinite is already very aerodynamic, but with vortex generators, the students still optimized the airflow behind the back of the car. They created small vortices just behind the car’s number plate, creating an area with a far lower drag coefficient.

Extreme challenge

“The landscape and the conditions in South Africa promise to be an extreme challenge. For the exceptional height profile, we optimized the motor and battery cooling,” commented 22-year-old Louis Claeys, who will be the pilot of Infinite.

In September, the KU Leuven engineering students will participate this Sasol Solar Challenge for the second time. In their first participation, they finished second, just behind the team of Delft University in the Netherlands (third at last year’s world championship in Australia). The renewed Infinite has to procure them victory this time.


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