Elizabeth Boorman May 2, 2014

The Punch Powertrain Solar Team started with a challenge: to build a car running on solar power, and driving it across the vast and imposing wildernesses of Central Australia. They were one of 40 teams to participate in the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge, the world’s largest solar electric vehicle event.

Photo courtesy of Punch Powertrain Solar Team
Photo courtesy of Punch Powertrain Solar Team.

From October 6th to 13th, 2013 the team’s car traveled 3,000km, from the north to south of Australia, driving through a wide range of landscapes including savannah, plateaus, deserts and springs. The diverse terrains do share one thing in common though: they are all good places to travel by solar car.
 

The route the Punch Powertrain Solarl Team took for the World Solar Challenge.
The route the Punch Powertrain Solarl Team took for the World Solar Challenge.

So you might be asking, why is a 3D Printing blog writing about a group of people participating in a solar car challenge? Maybe others of you have theorized that Materialise helped them develop a part for the car. And these people would be correct: Materialise worked with the Punch Powertrain Solar Team to 3D Print a battery pack.
 

Photo courtesy of Punch Powertrain Solar Team
Photo courtesy of Punch Powertrain Solar Team

The team came to Materialise to do add functionality to their battery pack. Working with Materialise, their battery pack was designed for optimal air flow to cool the car, which is particularly important when starting in Darwin, located only 40 degrees south of the Equator.
 

The battery pack before it left Materialise.
The battery pack before it left Materialise.

Another thing that was added, well actually taken away, was making it a lightweight structure, so the final battery pack has a honeycomb pattern which reduces weight while maintaining strength. By co-creating with Materialise, the solar team had a battery pack that powered them all the way from Darwin to Adelaide. We are delighted to hear that there journey was successful and to hear that they were recognized by winning the World Solar Challenge 2013 Innovation Award.
 

Photo courtesy of Punch Powertrain Solar Team
Photo courtesy of Punch Powertrain Solar Team

To read more about how Materialise powered the Punch Powertrain Solar Team, click here.   Find out more about the team’s journey across Australia by checking out their blog. It’s written in Dutch, but if you don’t read Dutch their pictures are also nice to look at. We promise it’s worth the visit!

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