Solar Stars! Axalta Celebrates Success of Student Teams at Bridgestone World Solar Challenge

With help from Axalta, two student teams raced to victory at the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge 2017, a competition of experimental solar cars that took place October 8 to 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 kilometers race from Darwin to Adelaide. Axalta supported both teams by providing 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,” says 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 kilometers travelled, passenger kilometers, speed, energy efficiency, design and practicality – where the team received the highest score for its desirability. Axalta’s technical specialists used their extensive motorsports experience when painting the solar car to achieve an outstanding appearance while keeping the weight on the carbon fiber 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.

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, that takes place in Australia every two years, the cars must cross the continent, travelling for more than 3,000 kilometers, 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.