The Bochum University of Applied Sciences has done it again. Its BOcruiser won the Design Award, succeeding SolarWorld No. 1, also built by the university. The title was clinched at the Global Green Challenge, a race for solar cars that takes them 3,000 kilometres across Australia. In conferring the Design Award on the BOcruiser, coated with Glasurit paints, the race organizers have deemed the four-wheeled vehicle as the “world’s most beautiful solar car.” BOcruiser’s predecessor, SolarWorld No. 1, which also sported a Glasurit finish, already won the Design Award the last time the race was held in 2007.
In his speech at the awards ceremony, race manager Chris Selwood said that anyone who had seen the way the BOcruiser handled the endurance test in the Australian outback had no doubt that the solar vehicle deserved the Design Award. The jubilation was shared three ways: by the team from the Bochum University of Applied Sciences led by Julian Stentenbach; by the brand Glasurit and by spraypainter Rainer Lennartz of the Lennartz refinishing team based in the German town of Lünen-Brambauer.
SolarWorld No. 1, a three-wheeled vehicle like most of the participants, also took part in the Global Green Challenge and crossed the finish line in a respectable ninth place. To achieve this top-ten placement, SolarWorld No. 1 reached an average speed of 75 km/h over the total distance of 3,000 kilometres and a top speed of 120 km/h. At its racing debut, the BOcruiser came in twelfth, with an average speed of 55 km/h and a top speed of 100 km/h.
For the finish of the BOcruiser, the team chose white, a colour that symbolizes sustainability and one that is becoming more popular on the roads. The Bochum University of Applied Sciences' team is composed of some 30 future engineers and their professors and instructors. Working with the team was spraypainter Rainer Lennartz. When it came to the team's requirements for the solar car, Lennartz felt as though he were participating in the Formula 1. For instance, in order to reduce weight, only the bare minimum of paint was to be applied. For the project, Lennartz chose a Glasurit 22 Line HS 2K Topcoat. The spraypainter described his goal as follows: “Use no more than one and one-half layers of paint, but nevertheless fulfil the basic functions of the paint finish, like protection, durability and design.” In comparison, a conventional new car is generally finished with four coats of paint (e-coat, primer, basecoat, clearcoat). Lennartz applied the primer to only some parts of the vehicle’s exterior before topcoating it with 22 Line, which has a high degree of hiding power and does not require the application of a clearcoat. The sponsors’ logos were painted on with a stencil and sealed with a clearcoat, after which the surface was sanded and polished. “Bochum University of Applied Sciences and I decided to apply the logos in this way because we wanted to prevent the edges of the decals from causing air swirl," Lennartz explained.
The BOcruiser has been built to conform with realistic conditions. Plans call for further development with the goal of promoting electromobility. By the next Global Green Challenge, the BOcruiser will have undergone a range of fine-tuning measures, making it one of the hot prospects for victory. The organizers of the Australian tour, headed by Chief Safety Officer Peter Sloithy, are planning a rule modification that will allow more cars that aim to conform with realistic conditions, like the BOcruiser and SolarWorld No. 1, to participate in the race.