Meet The Teams

NEW TEAMS ANNOUNCED REGULARLY  

Registration for the 2022 Sasol Solar Challenge in now closed

The 2022 team profiles are added as teams are confirmed. Fifteen teams have already confirmed their participation, including two major international teams.

Follow us on social media for updates, or take a look at the teams already registered below! These include some familiar competitors, and a few teams who have never competed internationally before, or even at all!

 

 

 

TEAM | Alfaisal Boeing Solar Car Team

CAR NAME | Areej 1.0

COUNTRY | Saudi Arabia

CLASS | Challenger

It took Alfaisal Boeing Solar Car Team four years to build their first solar car. The team is now coming to South Africa to compete in their first ever solar challenge.

The team showcased Areej 1.0, their solar and electric-powered car on Alfaisal Solar Day in 2021. Areej 1.0 is an acronym for Alfaisal Renewable Energy Group and means “the scent of a flowery garden” in Arabic.

The car can cover 2,500 km on a single charge, at a speed of more than 80 km per hour. It has a chassis made of a high strength aluminium alloy, and an outer shell made from a carbon fibre composite, and it also has advanced electronics for the solar array controller, battery pack, and other electrical modules.

The Saudi team decided to participate in solar challenges so that they can design solar cars, test their creations in real world conditions, learn from top teams, and share experiences.

The Alfaisal Boeing Solar Car team includes undergraduate researchers from a project funded by Boeing and the Office of Research and Graduate Studies of Alfaisal University.  

“We are a multidisciplinary team, each of us bringing unique skills from the electrical, mechanical, software, and industrial engineering departments. And we are proud that the majority of the solar car’s components were designed, developed, and manufactured by the student in the university,” said team leader Nouf Farhoud.

 

More than 20 alumni students have participated in the development of the project.

The team has nine members and are currently finalising the design of the Areej 1.0. This is carried out under the supervision of the Joint Smart Grids and Electric Vehicles Research and Development Center at Alfaisal University.

 

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.

 

 

TEAM | SolarFlair

CAR NAME | SolarFlair SP 400

Country | South Africa

CLASS | Challenger

A group of Mpumalanga residents who have worked in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) departments of education for years, have decided to lead by example by establishing the province’s first solar car team.

Mpumalanga is one of the nine provinces in South Africa.

By competing in the Sasol Solar Challenge for the first time this year, the SolarFlair team from City of Mbombela is determined to attract more youngsters into the world of STEM.

“We are building a Mbombela community-based car to participate in the challenge, and through that help promote and create an interest in our annual school Electric Vehicle Challenge, and STEM in general,” said team leader Klasie Botha.

This will be the first time that a team from Mpumalanga enters the Sasol Solar Challenge.

Drawn together through a shared interest, the team became part of the South African Electric Vehicle (EV) Challenge founded in 2012. They are organisers and sponsors of the programme, in which local school teams build and compete with electric vehicles in an hour-long race.

Their car, SolarFlair SP 400, gets its name from the term solar flare, a sudden temporary outburst of energy from a small area of the sun's surface. The SP stands for Sun Power, and the 400 for R400, 000 the teams’ budget for building the car.

The team has 12 members ranging from 20 to over 70 years of age. Team skills range from electrical and mechanical engineering to graphic design and electronics and builds on knowledge gained from building small electric vehicle cars.

The team started designing and building their solar car in 2019. However, as the Sasol Solar Challenge rules and regulations changed, for the 2022 event, they had to re-design and rebuild the car. The chassis, steering and brakes have been installed.

“We aim to complete the car by end of April and then start with the first test runs,” said Botha. “The entire team is eager to get SolarFlair up and running.”

 

 

TEAM | Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) Solar Team

CAR NAME | SunChaser IV

Country | South Africa

CLASS | Challenger

After a seven-day road trip to test their solar car, the Tshwane University of Technology is ready to take on the 2022 Sasol Solar Challenge.

The team started building their fourth solar car, SunChaser IV, in April 2020 and it was complete and ready for testing in May 2021. Instead of conducting a closed testing, the team decided to go on a road trip, driving from Pretoria in South Africa to Swakopmund in Namibia, and covered more than 2 000 km.

Team spokesperson Maureen Ramaube said it was important that real-world testing in real-world conditions is conducted to enable the team to improve where necessary, using correct and relevant data.

“While we were driving through each town to the final destination in Namibia, we were also collecting valuable data with various state of the art sensors. With that data, we were able to make necessary improvements in the car,” said Ramaube.

She added that, “the road trip was not only to test the car, but also raise an awareness in schools and communities on the use of renewable energy.”

When the TUT team first entered to compete in the Sasol Solar Challenge in 2012, they only had three months to build and test their solar car.  The actual physical work on the car started just three weeks before the event. The team of staff members and students had no experience with solar cars, armed only with enthusiasm and a hunger for knowledge.

In 2012, the team needed experience in time and team management, as well as logistics. In 2014, with these newly developed skills, they designed their first solar car from scratch, learning about composite and manufacturing techniques. The focus shifted in 2016 to developing a monocoque design, carbon fibre manufacturing, battery management, highly efficient photovoltaic and charge controllers, solar car monitoring, telemetry and weight improvement.

In 2018, the team had a lot in store for the event, especially academically. They came back with new focus on energy estimation and, in-house manufacturing of large size moulds. A team member also embarked on a PhD in Engineering, based on energy optimisation of the solar car. The study was implemented during the 2018 Sasol Solar Challenge event and provided useful insights.

Since then, the TUT team has gained more and more experience designing and building solar cars as they compete in each challenge.

In 2019, the team decided to partner with high school learners to enable younger kids to enter the challenge.

“The high school is one of our feeder schools, therefore it was important for us to invest in the learners, so they have prior solar car knowledge and experience when they finally enter TUT,” said Ramaube.

The team’s focus on their fourth generation solar car, which weighs approximately 200 kg, was on aerodynamic drag reduction and active battery management, as well as logistics for future international participation.

The team covered 2,500 km in the 2018 Sasol Solar Challenge and are aiming for 3,000 km in the upcoming event.

 

 

TEAM | University of Free State Solar Team

CAR NAME | Lengau

COUNTRY | South Africa

CLASS | Challenger

A Solar-powered Cheetah has escaped its Free State habitat and has been spotted on the Sasol Solar Challenge (SSC) line-up.  Known as Lengua in Sesotho, the large cat is determined and hungry to take on the thousands of kilometres between Johannesburg and Cape Town.

Lengau has been introduced to the SSC by first time competitors, the University of the Free State.

Team leader Hendrik Van Heerden said he used to see the event on media reports and always dreamed of taking part in the challenge.

“I am excited that we finally get to participate in the event. We have all the skills and experience required to build a well-functioning solar car. Among other developments, the university’s recent research into photovoltaic technologies – solar cells – has opened the door for us to compete in the Sasol Solar Challenge.”

The name Lengau comes from the province’s coat of arms, which has a multi-coloured shield and base of green, browns and beiges portraying the earth of the Free State. It also has the indigenous Orange River Lily and both sides of the shield are supported by cheetahs.

The team chose the name to recognise its province and capital city, Bloemfontein.

The team currently consists of eight members, aiming to grow to 14 in total before the event kicks off, and includes lecturers and students with a combination of skills from physics, engineering, electronics, manufacturing, management, media marketing, and diplomacy.

Preparing for the event, the team has been actively designing and building their solar car since 2019. They are currently reassessing some of the car designs and upgrading components.

“Our main problem is time and funding. Most of our materials are outsourced. We do have various sponsors, but we’re hoping to stay within a limited budget,” said Van Heerden.

The team is building a 250 kg solar car (driver included) that can reach speeds of 60 kilometres per hour.

 

 

TEAM | Central University of Technology: Seilatsatsi

CAR NAME | Ntsu

COUNTRY | South Africa

CLASS | Challenger

Team Seilatsatsi is back to compete for the second time in the Sasol Solar Challenge and are bringing a brand-new car for this year’s challenge.

For the 2018 Sasol Solar Challenge, the team built their first solar car in a very short time, and felt they needed more time for testing. Their experience now enables them to improve on their 2018 strategy.

Their first solar car was named Pere ea Letsatsi – a Sesotho name that means ‘horse from the sun’. For the 2022 challenge, their new car will be called ‘Ntsu’ – Eagle.

“We have learned a great deal from our participation in the 2018 Sasol Solar Challenge competing with Pere ea Letsatsi and because of our resilience, passion and enduring spirit, Ntsu was born,” said team leader Nicolaas Luwes. “An eagle, can soar higher than other birds, soaring with almost no energy lost.  The new car design looks like an eagle head and we’re hoping it will fly – or rather, drive like an eagle.”

Ntsu will be revealed at the university’s launch ceremony on the 19th of August. The car will have a new chassis, aiming for reliability on uneven road surfaces. The new design will incorporate 3D-printing of custom components, electronics and many other features.

The strong team of 14 members comprises of staff, alumni and current students ranging from 24 to 42 years of age. Skills range includes computer, electronic, electrical and mechanical engineering.

In the 2018 Sasol Solar Challenge, the team won the coveted community engagement award for the demonstration of technologies to the school learners along the route. They loaded 360° footage shot from their solar car onto virtual reality headsets which young kids from towns along the route used to immerse themselves in the driving experience.

“We are looking forward to experiencing the heights that Ntsu will soar to and invite communities along the route to show your support for the team as we make our way through South Africa’s prestigious event – the Sasol Solar Challenge,” said Luwes.

The eight-day challenge will travel from Johannesburg to Cape town. It will make its first stop in the Free State - touching in six towns including Sasolburg and Bloemfontein.

 

TEAM | Brunel Solar Team (Delft University)

CAR NAME | Nuna11S

COUNTRY | The Netherlands

CLASS | Challenger

Seven-time global champions, Brunel Solar Team, are coming to the Sasol Solar Challenge (SSC) to compete against fellow champions and other top international teams including teams from South Africa.

 

Brunel Solar Team previously known as Nuon and Vattenfall, are also former champions of the 2014, 2016 and 2018 Sasol Solar Challenges.

 

The team participate in the Sasol Solar Challenge because of the exciting and challenging format.

“Not only is the landscape beautiful and varied, but the format of the event as well, is astonishing. This year we look forward to the first ever blind stages and marathon stage, these will offer a new challenge, said team leader Sanne Vilters. “The Sasol Solar Challenge is successfully organised and there is a prospect of a strong competition and of course we don't want to miss that.”

 

The Delft University team started competing in solar challenges in 2001 – inspired by a movie called “Race the sun”. Since then, they have built 11 solar cars and competed in 14 solar challenges globally, in a mission to inspire the world in the field of sustainability and innovation.

“Our passion for sustainability and innovation, and our drive to win makes us do our best to developing the most efficient solar car possible. We want to show the world what is possible with only the energy from the sun and hard work and dedication,” said Vilters.

 

For the 2022 Sasol Solar Challenge, the team is bringing new members, however, they will not be building a new car, instead, they are opting to re-build their 157 kg Nuna11S, which competed in the Moroccan Solar Challenge in 2021. The solar car is a three wheeler, designed to achieve minimal air and rolling resistance. They are currently improving aerodynamics of the car. In addition, they are developing a new motor designed to face the landscape of South Africa in the best way possible.

 

The 11-strong member team includes four drivers and range from 21 to 25 years of age. The team has a combination of skills from aerodynamics, electrical engineering, mechanics to marketing.

 

TEAM NEAME | Agoria Solar Team

CAR NAME | BluePoint Atlas

COUNTRY | Belgium

CLASS | Challenger

Current world solar challenge champions, Agoria Solar Team, are coming to South Africa to compete in the 2022 Sasol Solar Challenge.

The team won the 2019 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge and decided to come and compete in South Africa to challenge their abilities and knowledge in an adventurous and exciting way and grow significantly as engineers as they continue to contribute to the world of renewable technologies.

“This will be the first time that the team competes in South Africa. The Sasol Solar Challenge is one of a kind. It requires us to rethink our strategies and that’s an exciting challenge for us. We look forward to the adventure in September,” said team manager Pieter April.

The team from the University of Leuven in Belgium is the first Belgian team to ever build a solar car. The team now owns nine solar cars and builds a new car every two years – since 2003.

In order to improve and hone their skills, the team started participating in international solar challenges and have since competed in 16 solar challenges around the world. One of the most outstanding skills they have is changing a flat tire in less than 80 seconds.

“We attribute these accomplishments to the members who came before us. It's been a journey of many dedicated engineering students in the past years,” said April.

For the past 17 years, the team has been imparting a great deal of knowledge to high school learners in Belgium. They founded a Solar Olympiad competition, where groups of high school learners design a solar-powered gadget or vehicle.

With passion for solar challenges, the team participated in the 2017 Memorial Van Damme athletics event in Belgium to compete with a Kenyan athlete, Nicholas Kiplangat Kipkoech. The Belgian solar car passed Kipkoech and crossed the finish line in just three seconds before him.

The team is coming to the Sasol Solar Challenge to compete with their 170 kg BluePoint Atlas - named after one of the team’s partners. BluePoint Atlas competed in the 2021 Solar Challenge Morocco. It’s predecessor, BluePoint, competed in the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge 2019 and the iLumen European Solar Challenge 2020 and 2021.

The 11-member team aged 21 to 24 years, includes four drivers. Skills range from energy, mechanical, electronics, civil to aerospace engineering.

 

 

TEAM NAME | Genuine JV Solar Car Team

CAR NAME | Voltwagen

COUNTRY | South Africa

CLASS | Challenger

 

A newly formed high school team will be competing in the 2022 Sasol Solar Challenge. To prepare for the event in September, the team took their solar car, Voltwagen, for a test on a high-speed test track and subsequently went on a four-day road trip from Pretoria to the Northern Cape, South Africa. They are now ready and looking forward to compete among the best and bigger teams from around the world.

“The 2022 Sasol Solar Challenge is our first competitive solar event. Taking part in this event is a huge opportunity, an achievement and a learning curve for us,” said team manager Dr Marlize Kantor. “We have been preparing for this moment and it’s finally here. It is going to be an unforgettable experience not only for the team but the entire school.”

The Genuine JV Solar Car Team was formed by a partnership between the high school and veterans of the Sasol Solar Challenge - Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) Solar Team. The TUT Solar Team donated their 2016 solar car to the team in 2020. They also supported the team financially, as well as mentoring and guiding them to put the solar car together.

The car name, Voltwagen, was chosen during a school-wide competition.

After receiving the car from the TUT Solar Team, the Genuine JV team re-designed and re-built the car to comply with the current Sasol Solar Challenge regulations. The new adjustments and configurations were tested during the road trip which was roughly 310 km.

“Additional to testing the car, we also practised our respective roles which includes safety, telemetry, communication and strategic planning,” said Dr Kantor.

During the road trip, the team visited a few schools along the route were fellow learners had the opportunity to experience STEM in real-world and learn more about the Genuine JV’s solar car project.

“Overall, the trip was a successful venture that also strengthened teamwork and communication,” added Dr Kantor.

The Genuine JV team consists of 32 members, including learners from grades 9 to 11, teachers, parents and volunteers, with a combination of skills from electronics, digital systems, mechanics, civil technology, robotics, media relations and logistics. They have three drivers.

 

 

TEAM NAME | North West University Solar Team

CAR NAME | Naledi 2.0

COUNTRY | South Africa

CLASS | Challenger

 

The North West University Solar Team is only one of two South African solar car teams that have competed in the gruelling Bridgestone World Solar Challenge (The team competed in the 2015 and 2017 events). The team will be participating in the 2022 Sasol Solar Challenge and are looking forward to showcasing skills and knowledge they acquired from the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge.

 

The North West University Solar Team is not new to the Sasol Solar Challenge, they have been competing in the challenge since 2012. In 2016, they set a record with the furthest distance in a day racking up 611.9 km and 3, 524 km for the entire eight-day challenge.

 

The 15-member team will be competing with Naledi 2.0. The solar car is not an entirely new car but was built using materials from Naledi I, which competed in the 2017 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge, and Phoenix, which competed in the 2018 Sasol Solar Challenge. 

 

“Naledi I and Phoenix showed potential in the past challenges but were hampered with small reliability problems,” said team leader Danie Human. “Testing of Naledi 2.0 will be paramount to identify reliability issues and rectify them. It will also help the team to compete successfully with other teams and harness the full potential of this unique solar car configuration.”

 

Naledi means “Star” in Setswana, and was chosen to compliment the sun, which fuels the solar car.

The car has an instinctive innovative rotating solar array. This was done to create the opportunity for the car to harness more solar energy when the angle of the solar array is rotated for a more optimum angle towards the sun. Naledi 2.0 weighs roughly 170 kg and its layout increases stability and flexibility with a low centre of gravity. The 20 kg lithium-ion battery will give a minimum range of 250 km at 65 km per hour. 

“We can’t wait to put these innovations to the test in the Sasol Solar Challenge,” said Human. He added that, “The support of the North West University and faculty of engineering makes the team a strong contender.”

The North West University Solar Team will include three drivers and a range of senior students and staff of the engineering faculty. Skills include chemical, industrial, mechanical, and electrical engineering.