Tshwane has kicked off with a spectacular adventure in 2022: racing across South Africa to Namibia, testing the capabilities of the new car (Sunchaser 4). The road trip from Pretoria (South Africa) to Swakopmund in Namibia (covering 2,153 km over seven days) gave the team the opportunity to test the capabilities of the car and obtain data on how close the “designed performance” was to “actual performance”.
The event was a success with Christiaan Oosthuizen (Tshwane University of Technology solar car team director) stating that “Sunchasers’ performance EXCEEDED our expectations: we ended up with a 99% battery remaining at the end of our 2,153km journey over 7 days, only powered by the sun, what a blessing! Even on our "worst" day, having to climb about 1000m vertically over a distance of 300km with bad weather, we still managed to end up with a battery of 65% at the end of the 300km, and then charged to 100% with the sun all before 5 pm”.
“Key to the success of our battery performance and energy management is obtaining accurate and high-resolution forecast data (temporal and spatial) from Meteomatics’ Weather API, which we can easily access using their python data connector and quickly integrate into our operational decision-making”.
The race to Namibia has also given the Sunchaser Team the opportunity to fine-tune the performance of the car, as they prepare for the Sasol Solar Challenge later this year. Christiaan Oosthuizen enthuses that they recorded all the solar car data, as well as route weather data: daily, at per second intervals. Some master's students back at Tshwane University of technology will now use the data to gain new insights by testing "online mathematical vehicle modeling algorithms" the team has developed to further improve performance.
It's fantastic to see the car and team continue to innovate by exploiting Meteomatics' accurate and rich forecast database. Meteomatics is very proud to continue supporting a project focused on improving sustainable technology, such as solar. Plus the Sunchaser 4 Team goal to maintain their status as the leading South African Solar Car Team and push the boundaries of solar car design and battery optimization.
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