Durham gets best ever result in Bridgestone World Solar Challenge 2019

The Bridgestone World Solar Challenge – a 3022km race across central Australia, cruising at highway speeds using less power than a hairdryer; with over 50 teams from 24 countries competing it is easily the largest and most exciting Solar race in the world. We went out as a team of 16 engineers from Durham University to race our solar-powered race car that we’d been building for two years. Needless to say, we were all excited! The race itself began on the 13th of October, with all the solar cars setting off from Darwen Town Hall to begin the 3022km journey.

Figure The car making its way south from Darwin, NT

The rules of the race allow you to drive between 08:00 and 17:00 each day, meaning wherever you are at 17:00 is where you must stop for the night, in the middle of the Australian desert. Spending each night with nothing but flat desert for hundreds of miles, and billions of stars is a highlight of the trip!

Figure 2: A drone shot of one of our camp spots

We kept a steady 15th place throughout the race, making our way between the 9 control stops spread across the route. However, at the end of the penultimate day we made a pretty drastic discovery – our estimation for state of charge was completely off and had been for the entire race. While initially disheartening, we took it on the chin and geared up to take the final day by storm. With more than enough charge in the pack, we were able to drive at 80kph for pretty much the whole day, overtaking a Swiss team to take 14th place!

At 17:00 on Friday the 18th of October, we reached kilometre 2830 where we took this photo – just 180km shy of the finish line.

Figure 3: 2830km, the end of our race

This photo holds more emotion than I could possibly put into words, it’s the culmination of two years of hard-work and dedication from just a handful of brilliant young engineers. Despite not making the full distance, as the sun set over the horizon illuminating the array one last time, we were all smiling – proud of what we had achieved.

DUEM and Corbeau announce Sponsorship Partnership!

DUEM are delighted to announce a brand new sponsor of the project. Corbeau Seats Ltd., the first motorsport seat manufacturer in the world, are partnering with DUEM, providing their safety expertise across a number of areas to the team as they gear up to Australia in 2019. This includes their incredible lightweight harnesses which Corbeau are custom-designing for our solar car.

Steve Hannon, of Corbeau, said:

“Corbeau are proud to be a part of the DUEM solar car project, safety through innovation is our key ethos and we feel this ties in perfectly with the project. The team at DUEM are taking an innovative stance towards a potential future for the automotive industry. We are delighted to be working with them across our product range, developing custom solutions including our world-leading harnesses to aid the safety of the Solar Car, allowing innovations to move forwards.”

Corbeau Seats Ltd was the first motorsport seat manufacturer in the world. Founded in 1963 by original owner Colin Folwell, Colin found that standard road seats in his race car did not offer the support nor protection required by the tremendous speeds being produced by race cars at the time. He then developed the first ever race car seat in East Sussex, where Corbeau Seats still proudly produce road and race seats. 55 years on, Corbeau are still proud to be manufacturing motorsport, classic and road seats to high internal standards, ensuring they continue to keep drivers and passengers safe. In 1992 Corbeau became the first British manufacturer to acquire FIA homologation on our motorsport seats, further topped in 2016 with the introduction of the FIA 8862-2009, 10 year homologated, Predator seat.

DUEM at CarFest South

DUEM are delighted to announce that we will be attending this weekend’s CarFest South. Led by Chris Evans and his BBC Radio 2 team, the event combines cars, live music and family fun for a truly unforgettable weekend. The event raises money for BBC Children In Need. We are thrilled to be exhibiting here, in front of over 30,000 visitors a day!

We’d like to thank the organisers as well as our partners and sponsors for their vital and continued support. This will be a tremendous event for the whole team and we’d love to see you there from 24-26 August. Stay tuned across our Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and our DriveTribe pages for more news and updates as we build up to yet another milestone event.

Looking ahead to Goodwood 2018

A major part of DUEM’s mission is to promote our project and sustainability across the world, educating the public about climate change in the process. One of our major annual events is the Goodwood Festival of Speed. DUEM have attended this twice previously – in 2016 and 2017 – and are delighted to announce that they will be returning to exhibit at this year’s event.

From 12-15th July over a quarter of a million people will attend this major event, to not only see the latest and greatest supercars, but areas like Formula 1, pre-war cars and much more. The highlight will be the daily hillclimb where all of these categories of vehicles, and more, will race up the famous Goodwood hill to set new records.

This is a tremendous opportunity for DUEM to promote our project and partners on the world stage and we are delighted to be returning for the third time to this historic event. Check out the YouTube video below which gives you an insight into the event in 2017. We are super excited to be attending this year and stay tuned across our Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and our solar car tribe on DriveTribe for all the latest updates from the team.

DUEM’s Formula E Experience

This year DUEM celebrates its 16th anniversary and continues their marketing push across Europe. The team presented at Cleantech Innovate 2018 in front of 400 investors at the historic Faraday Lecture Theatre in London’s Royal Institution back in March of this year. We saw incredible interest in the car, its technology and future platform opportunities.

One of the key aspects of our project is promoting our technology to a global audience and it is one of the key reasons for sponsors linking with us. No better opportunity exists than with Formula E, the world’s premier electric vehicle racing championship. DUEM are regular viewers and followers of the series given the clear links between our two competitions. The series has gone from strength to strength and provides an ideal opportunity to promote the project on the world stage.

To that end, DUEM have now attended 4 Formula E-Prix’s in historic locations across Europe. The team first exhibited in Rome, meeting key individuals, before taking our current generation solar car – DUSC – to the Paris round. The team saw incredible interest at the Paris E-Village, in front of tens of thousands of spectators and visitors from around the world. This continued at the Berlin round where the team promoted the project, this time in the Start-Up Zone within the old Tempelhof Airport. Most recently, the team travelled to the Zurich round – the first race held in Switzerland in over 60 years.

Check out our highlights reel here from the Rome, Paris and Berlin E-Prix’s:

And if you’re still interested, feel free to flick through some of our pictures from the experience:

The next season of Formula E will be a step change with a brand new car platform, combined with more teams and new drivers. The future is certainly electric and DUEM are very excited to be a part of this journey, working with Formula E to promote sustainable innovation to the masses. Stay tuned for yet more exciting news on the horizon; 2018 is far from over yet for DUEM!

DUEM a founding member of the World Alliance for Efficient Solutions

Following our attendance of the  23rd United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP23) in Bonn, Germany, here at DUEM we have kept things going. A large number of new team members have joined us and design and development of our next generation Solar Car is well under way.

As mentioned in previous blog entries, our participation at COP23 was marked by the signing of a major agreement – the establishment of the World Alliance for Efficient Solutions. Inspired by André Borschberg and Bertrand Piccard’s Solar Impulse, the solar-powered plane which made its way across the world, the alliance aims to select 1000 solutions that can protect the environment in a more ambitious and profitable way.  The World Alliance gathers the major players who are creating, supporting or promoting technology, projects and movements that have the potential to safeguard our planet. Crucially, however, all of these solutions are profitable in their own right.

We can now proudly say to be one of the alliance’s founding members, as our page on the Solar Impulse website has just now gone live! DUEM is one of the 19 Solutions across the UK and the leading solution in the North of England. Please do have a read and feel free to share your thoughts with us on Social Media.

Setting up the Next Generation of DUEM

2018 is set to be a big year for DUEM. Although the team made huge progress in WSC last year, we can only go so far with a car designed for prior event regulations. This year we start from scratch, building a vehicle far lighter and more efficient than any raced by Durham before. Preliminary design work has already begun ahead of the release of the 2019 technical regulations later in the year, and the engineering team will be hard at work over the Summer break for the big reveal this November. We’re excited to show the world what we’re capable of.

To help us, we’ve put an emphasis on recruitment this year, and are in the middle of training the next generation of team members to be part of the 2019 WSC campaign. Testing with the current car is great preparation for them in maintenance and race operations, and the team are hopeful of entry into the 2018 European Solar Challenge in Belgium; a chance for them to race against international competition before the new machine’s big Australian outing next year.

We’ve also got some exciting publicity events planned for the year, so keep an eye out; DUEM may well be coming to a venue near you!

Cleantech Innovate 2018

We are delighted to announce that on 20th March 2018, DUEM will once again be representing sustainable innovation at Cleantech Innovate 2018. Cleantech Innovate provides developers with a golden chance to put their solutions in the limelight for potential funding. Investors hear 36 pitches from the most promising environmental businesses and get the market intelligence required to achieve game-changing outcomes from their investments.

After an intense competitive process, we are delighted to be one of these 36 to be considered by the hundreds of attendees from around the world. We look forward to promoting the project to them, showcasing our potential and past successes in 2017 in Australia as you will have seen from our video. This presentation will take place at the historic Faraday Theatre at the Royal Institution in London in front of over 350 investors, active funders, corporates, support agencies and the media.

Stay tuned across our social media channels as we gear up to this event. 2018 is going to be a big year for DUEM; this is just the beginning.

Moving forwards: COP23 and the World Alliance for Efficient Solutions

Having raced 3000km across Australia in the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge, DUEM has not been standing still. Whilst the car continues its shipping voyage from Australia back to the UK, the team have been hard at work on the new designs for 2019 as well as continuing to promote the car at world renowned locations.

 

You may remember that in 2016, the team took the car to Marrakech for the UN Climate Summit (COP22) and Formula E-Prix. This was an incredible opportunity from the team to promote the project in front of world leaders, CEOs and world press. To attend the UN Climate Summit once was incredible but DUEM were delighted to attend this prestigious event once more this year at COP23 in Bonn, Germany.

 

The team once again were amongst world leaders, businesses, press and attendees to the conference from around the world. This time, we were honoured to sign a major agreement within the UN summit itself. We are now an official founding member of the World Alliance for Efficient Solutions. This is a global alliance, promoting sustainable innovation around the world. We are honoured to be one of the solutions of this Alliance, and look forward to connecting with companies and institutions from around the world as we build the DUEM brand still further. This is something that puts us on the world stage once again. It is the next chapter in DUEM’s story.

Thank you to Durham University

Durham University Logo 

Our participation in the challenge simply would not be possible without the facilities, staff and numerous other benefits being at Durham provides. Being students at the University is a huge privilege for all of the team and we are delighted to be representing this prestigious establishment on the global stage. It really encompasses not only the student experience but also practical applications of teaching and research across a number of departments. We are delighted to have great collaboration across departments and want to continue deepening this collaboration further as we look ahead to some very exciting plans.