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Delft University Solar Challenge Car Reduces Air Resistance by 30%

nuna5-nw-hpThe Nuon Solar Team has managed to reduce the air resistance of the Nuna5 solar car by 30%. This was the outcome of today’s testing in the Marknesse wind tunnel. In October, Nuna5 is taking part in the World Solar Challenge, the solar car race across Australia that TU Delft students have already won four consecutive times. The first record with Nuna5 was already achieved today.

This test was extremely important for the Nuon Solar Team as the result confirms the air resistance estimates made so far. The air must flow over the car with as little disturbance as possible. The less air resistance, the smoother and calmer the vehicle drives – thus giving the team a greater chance of gaining time. The measured air resistance can be compared with the air resistance you feel when holding an A-sized book out of a car window while driving down the motorway.

133 km per litre

Nuna experiences 30% less air resistance than the previous Nuna. The resistance is no less than ten times lower than that of a normal saloon car. “An average saloon car driving at about 100 km an hour encounters air resistance in the region of 30 kilograms. Nuna5 will be entirely solar-powered in Australia, but if the car were fitted with a petrol engine it would have a fuel consumption of 133 km per litre – so the entire race of about 3000 km would cost a mere 23 litres of petrol,” says team leader Rein van den Eijnde. Air resistance is one of the most important causes of the high petrol consumption of cars on the motorway. That’s why it is so important that air can flow over the car with minimum disturbance.


Some things to know about Nuna5’s aerodynamics

o        The Nuna5 technology is based on glider technology.
o        Nuna5 has just as much air resistance as the wing mirror of a Ford Transit.
o        The air resistance of Nuna5 is 36 times less than a Hummer 2.
o        Side wind actually reduces the air resistance of Nuna5. This is because the wheel guards are specially designed to act like the sails of a sailing boat when there is a side wind.
o        In front of the cockpit there is a small triangular hole. This is a special low air resistance vent to let in fresh air for the driver.


Nuon Solar Team

 The Nuon Solar Team is compiled every year from TU Delft students who interrupt their studies for a year in order to build the solar car. The team members come from different faculties (Electrical Engineering, Aerospace Engineering, Sustainable Energy Technology, Architecture, Industrial Design Engineering and Mechanical Engineering).

About Nuon and the Nuon Solar Team

Since 2001 energy company Nuon has been chief sponsor of the Nuon Solar Team. In taking part in the World Solar Challenge, Nuon promotes interest in renewable energy and innovation. And demonstrates how young people with ambition can make a substantial contribution to technical innovation and a sustainable future.

For more information:
Nuon Solar Team: Mariana Popescu
Tel:                (015) 278 41 29        , e-mail:
Follow the team online:

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