The University of Bochum (Germany) and the big consortium thyssenkrupp presents the result of a development partnership, the blue.cruiser, a four-seater sports coupé with most attractive body, only receiving the energy from the sun. This car will run on the World Solar Challenge in Australia in October this year.
The latest solar-powered car to result from this development partnership is a four-seater sports coupé. It shows the best and most attractive side of e-mobility: not just rational and sustainable, but also a real treat for the eyes. For the first time, the body and interior were created by a design student from Folkwang University of the Arts in collaboration with budding engineers from Bochum University of Applied Sciences. Sustainability was a guiding principle behind the vehicle’s development, so leather and carbon have made way for natural fibers, and all other materials used, including steel, were put to the ecological test.
This time developments focus on sustainability, making the thyssenkrupp blue.cruiser even more eco-friendly than its predecessor. For example the roll cage is made from ultrahigh-strength steel in a very light tubular design to test alternatives to carbon fibers, which are in part difficult to recycle. Sustainable materials were also trialed in the interior design. Instead of carbon fibers, linen and bio resin were used for the first time in the door paneling, instrument panel and center tunnel. No animals were harmed in the making of the seat covers, which are made of Piñatex – a kind of plant-based leather made from the fibers of pineapple leaves.
This is the first time that one of the solar cars produced in Bochum offers space for four people, representing a big step toward everyday practicality. Ride comfort is ensured among other things by four internally developed hub motors made of electrical steel and compact dampers designed like those used in motorsport which can be controlled manually by the driver. Finally, five square meters of solar panels collect sufficient solar energy. But there is also a plug to enable recharging from the mains in case the sun doesn’t shine.
Distance warning system, central locking, info display, heated seats – the list of the blue.cruiser’s features reads like that of a conventionally powered sports car. With a top speed of 120 kilometers per hour the vehicle may be somewhat slower than gasoline-powered competitors but what matters more in the World Solar Challenge in Australia this fall is not speed, but rather efficiency – and this is where the blue.cruiser has a very good chance of beating off competitors over the 3,000 kilometer course.