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[L'Aventure solaire - Un véhicule solaire de Midi-Pyrénées au WSC'2001]
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In the Pyrénées during Phébus 2002 Rally
Arriving in Cité de l’espace of Toulouse

Solelhada, is a solar vehicle designed in ENSEEIHT-INP of Toulouse, specially in the LEEI - CNRS, a power electronics research laboratory, with the aim of running in the World Solar Challenge in Australia, prestigious international race of solar vehicles. It profits particularly from the supports of the Conseil Régional de Midi Pyrénées, the Conseil Général des Hautes Pyrénées, the Ministry for Research and the CNRS.


Un défi international
Through Australia, 2001 Solar Odyssey

Crossing Australia from Darwin to Adelaïde, over 3000 km, as fast as possible while only using solar radiation is a true big challenge. Even with 8m2 of high performance solar panels, the power rarely reaches 1500W, the power of an hair drier; and hardly more than 10 kWh of electric energy is collected during a day, that is to say one liter-equivalent-gasoline to run several hundred kms. Such a performance requires an essential quality : the energy sobriety, which requires advanced technologies for every component : structure, aerodynamics, engine, and energy treatment efficiency.

The body
The body of SOLELHADA has been developed in collaboration between the LEEI searchers, teachers and students of ENSEEIHT and ENSICA engineer schools, and PROTOPLANE and AXSON companies. It is optimised for the WSC : its shape is a good compromise in order to collect solar light with good aerodynamics (SCx #0.17m2). All made with composite materials, it weighs only 56 kg.

The front wheel motor
The front wheel motor, a permanent magnets brushless motor, was especially designed at the LEEI - CNRS for the solar vehicle traction. With an efficiency reaching 95% this wheel motor avoids the losses due to a traditional transmission.

A nice performance during Solar Odyssey 2001
Thanks to the supports of many partners, SOLELHADA took the departure of the WSC on November 18, 2001 and held its promises. Classified 3° in the "lead-acid battery" category and 22° in general, it ran across Australia over 3000 km into 50 hours, with the average speed of 60 km/h, consuming an electric energy of 46 kWh drawn from the solar radiation, equivalent to that of 6 liters of gasoline on the whole, that is to say the equivalent of 0,2 liter per 100 km; a nice performance !
As a symbolic link between transport systems and renewable energies, Solelhada arouses public curiosity and interest on the roads (during WSC 2001, Phébus Rallys, Challenge Bibendum) or when exhibited in scientific shows. Carrier of dream by its societical dealing, it shows in such its way, the potential of New Energy Technologies for a Sustainable Development which will require a true better energy management.