World Solar Challenge 2023

Driving new generations towards the sustainable mobility of the future

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  • CUPRA sponsors the Brunel Solar Team, one of the participants in the World Solar Challenge, where university students compete in vehicles powered entirely by solar energy
  • The Dutch team from the Delft University of Technology finishes in 3rd place after five days and more than 3,000 km across the Australian outback in extreme temperatures
  • Anna Homs, R&D Innovation Lead at CUPRA: “The new generations are the future and we support this type of initiative while learning from their passion, motivation and technical skills”

Every two years, Australia hosts the World Solar Challenge, an international event where all the participating teams, mostly made up of university students, compete in vehicles powered solely by solar energy that they themselves have designed and hand-crafted. The race covers 3,021 kilometres through the Australian outback, from north to south, and the aim is to foster the development and innovation of sustainable mobility. The spirit of this challenge is shared by CUPRA, driving the collaboration with the Brunel Solar Team of the Delft University of Technology (Netherlands), one of the most successful teams in recent years, achieving first place on up to 11 occasions. Anna Homs, R&D Innovation Lead at CUPRA, was in Australia to experience the competition first-hand: “We took part in this race because of its innovative spirit and because it promotes sustainable mobility, a challenge that matches our DNA which is to be disruptive, emotional and electric.”

Maximum dedication. The Dutch members of the Brunel Solar Team spent more than a year putting all their knowledge into practice to enter the World Solar Challenge. The result is Nuna 12, an electric car in the shape of a wing made of lightweight materials and covered with solar panels: “It features the latest technologies in the field of solar cells and battery systems” said Tijn van Weel, one of the members of the Brunel Solar Team. During the event, the competitors had to get up early to charge the vehicle beginning at 5 a.m., taking advantage of the first rays of sunlight, until 8 a.m. when the race resumed. From there, they covered around 700 km per day, passing through the pre-determined checkpoints, until 5 p.m., when they stopped and got their cars ready for the next day.

An unstoppable impulse. All their effort was rewarded, as the Brunel Solar Team crossed the finish line in third place, out of a total of 28 teams in their category. This result proves they lived up to the challenge. What’s more, Homs confirmed that “Nuna 12 didn’t have a single malfunction during the entire race, offering maximum reliability.” In addition, they had the support of a CUPRA Formentor e-HYBRID, where team members were responsible for analysing and predicting weather conditions in order to establish the best possible race strategy. But nothing managed to hamper them on the five-day journey from Darwin to Adelaide, not even wildfires, temperatures of up to 40ºC or the strong winds in some stretches.

Standing with the new generations for a sustainable future. CUPRA’s commitment to pushing the limits of innovation led to their involvement and participation with the Brunel Solar Team, which “complemented the knowledge we have of how to build a car in a sustainable way,” said Homs. She also added that the younger generations will be instrumental in the development of electrification, which is why “they’re the future and we’re delighted to support this kind of initiative while learning from their passion, motivation and technical skills.”

For the Dutch team, the collaboration with the brand that challenges the status quo has also been a driving force: “We were thrilled to push the boundaries during the course of our challenge using the latest technologies in the automotive industry. Sustainable mobility is the future” emphasised van Weel. 

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