Since 1999, students from Bochum University of Applied Sciences develop solar cars, which are powered uniquely using solar energy. Every two years, fifty students from different faculties come together to design and build a new vehicle.
The teams are organised in the areas of mechanics, electrical systems, motor, strategy, organisation and media, and pool all their individual ideas and capabilities in order to drive the project forward; the unofficial motto of the project is “learning by doing”. At the beginning of the millennium, Prof. Dr. Friedbert Pautzke started the initiative, which would become the flagship project of Bochum University of Applied Sciences. Every two years, the Solar Car Challenge gets under way in Australia and Bochum’s competition entries are always reckoned with as meaningful innovations. The didactic basis of the project consists of problem-based learning, a teaching method that motivates students with a concrete, complex task from every day-life and gives them the freedom to organise themselves as they see fit.
The project has won numerous international prizes and distinctions. The around-the-world trip of the SolarWorl GT in 2012, using only solar energy earned an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records. In 2015, the project was awarded the German Solar Prize. Seven solar cars, three of them street-legal in Germany in just over fifteen years: an impressive line-up from the Bochum University Factory. The focus of car body development now lies on road capability, away from the flat body design and towards an attractive sports coupé, which is not only technically convincing, but also aesthetically so. The current SunRiser was built in cooperation with Thyssenkrupp—electromobility made in Germany.
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