TEAM | Sun Shuttle Solar Team
CAR NAME | Sun Shuttle IV
COUNTRY | China
CLASS | Cruiser
Since the team’s formation in 2012, Sun Shuttle Solar Team have only competed in the biennial Bridgestone World Solar Challenge (BWSC). They have decided to switch things up in 2022, and will be competing in the Sasol Solar Challenge (SSC) for the first time.
The Chinese team is part of the Centre for Low Emission Vehicle Research (CLEVeR) Laboratory of the Beijing Institute of Technology, which looks into reducing vehicle emissions. They are approaching the SSC as a research opportunity.
“Our focus on building solar cars is mainly on the motor and power inverter of the drivetrain. We have only tested these in the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge. The Sasol Solar Challenge will allow us to test the drivetrain’s reliability in a new and different environment,” said team leader Ding Shuaiyu. “Additionally, we know the Sasol Solar Challenge to be a competitive event and decided to come to South Africa to challenge ourselves and enhance our skills.”
The team built three separate solar cars to participate in the respective 2013, 2015 and 2019 BWSC - missing the 2017 event as they lacked sufficient time to build a new car. For the 2022 SSC, they opted to re-build Sun Shuttle III, which they have been working on since 2020.
“All of our cars are named ‘Sun Shuttle’ because we want them to travel fast and smoothly using solar energy. We always aim to build higher efficiency solar cars, and all our designs are inspired by things with low air resistance such as rain drop and bird’s wings,” said Shuaiyu.
The 13-member team, aged 22 to 60, designs the majority of the parts of their cars, including the structure of the carbon fiber-nomex plate, which is the material making up the main frame of the car. The manufacturing of the body and the motor is outsourced.
They have four drivers and one female team member who is responsible for the electric circuits of the solar cars.