Building solar car for World Solar Challenge

In October 2017 MDH Solar Team took part in the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge race for the first time. This is a race where teams from all over the world compete for what solar vehicle can drive 3 000 kilometres across Australia in the quickest possible time. The work of developing our solar car, which is to compete in 2019, is now continuing.

 

 

- It’s a big project which requires a lot of spare time and commitment, but it’s also great fun! We want the project to live on so that MDH can take part in the race next time as well, so just now we’re in the process of recruiting new members, says Johanna Colling, who is the project manager for the team’s marketing.

The student project MDH Solar Team started on the M.Sc. Engineering programme in Production and Product Design in 2014, with its goal being the race in Australia in 2017. Since then some seventy students, from several programmes, have run the project by themselves, but under the supervision of teachers at the University. During the course of the work the students in the team have been divided up into smaller constellations in which each group has been responsible for different areas, such as the construction and design of the car, marketing, sponsoring and the financing of the project, for example.

- The challenge of such a big project is to get all the parts to work together.  Even though we all have different areas of responsibility we have to cooperate to be able to get a good car together that can take us over the finishing line. This project is a good preparation for working life, since we learn to take our own initiatives, to deal with people and to solve real-life problems, says Josefine Bäcklin, sponsoring manager.

- What is also extremely important to get the project to work is communication, both within the team and towards suppliers, sponsors and the media. Since we cooperate with a lot of different types of people it’s important that communication is clear, says Johanna Colling.  

The World Solar Challenge race

Altogether 17 students and two teachers went to Bridgestone World Solar Challenge 2017 in Australia to compete with the solar car, which succeeded in getting from Darwin in the north to Adelaide in the south.

- We were really put to the test then! It was the first time we took part so there was quite a bit of improvisation and problem-solving to be done there. There was also a very good atmosphere between the teams and we learnt a lot from one another, says Josefine Bäcklin.

For the next competition, in 2019, MDH would like to enter a new team. To succeed we require skills in several different areas, such as construction, marketing, project management, electrical systems and energy management, which means that students from several different programmes are needed.

- People don’t need to experts in any one area, but an interest in learning and solving problems has to be there. None of us has been fully trained, but we have learnt together during the course of the project, says Johanna Colling.