Top Dutch Solar team might join race after all
‘So much has happened over the past few months’, says Aymar Berkel, team captain and student of industrial engineering and management at the UG. Early February brought the news that the World Solar Challenge in Australia was cancelled because of the corona pandemic. ‘We were so disappointed.’
Together with teams from other Dutch and Belgian universities, Top Dutch came up with the idea for a new race. Perhaps in Abu Dhabi, or Dubai? In the end, they picked Morocco.
All they have to do is map out the racetrack, but this is challenging because of corona. ‘The country is currently locked down’, says Berkel. He has faith, ‘but if June rolls around and people still can’t get into the country, it’s going to be difficult’.
In the meantime, Berkel watched part of his team leave, including the Hanze students who actually build the car. In the end, there was only one student left in the team.
‘That was a difficult time’, Berkel admits. ‘But we managed to wrangle up some students from a vocational school. They’re working hard on the car right now.’ There are advantages to this, he says. ‘Vocational students have a more practical mindset. Production is fully under way.’
The team didn’t do anything for over a month, and they need to catch up. The car, which isn’t finished yet, also has to be adapted to the environment in Morocco, which differs from the one in Australia. The Moroccan Solar Challenge track partially runs through the mountains. ‘It’ll all work out’, says Berkel confidently. ‘We have a great electric engine.’
There is just one other problem: the language. ‘None of us speak French’, says Berkel, laughing. ‘Perhaps we should look for someone from the French department to join the team.’