The BluePoint Atlas is the ninth Belgian solar car, designed and built in 2020 and 2021 by the Agoria Solar Team. The car was constructed by 20 engineering students from the KU Leuven to participate in the Solar Challenge Morocco. It is the first solar car by the Belgian team with an aerodynamically pointed shape, a very performant design inspired by elements from nature. The BluePoint Atlas has three wheels, curved solar cells and a self-built electric motor for optimal performance.
|DIMENSIONS||5 meters by 1.2 meters, with a height of 1 meter|
|NUMBER OF WHEELS||3 (two front wheels, 1 rear wheel)|
|TOP SPEED||150 km/h|
|BATTERY||700 km range without sun|
|SOLAR PANEL||4m² of square-cut silicon solar cells|
|MOTOR||Self-designed electric motor with record-breaking efficiency|
|BODY||Ultralight and stiff carbon fibre structure|
|BRAKING||Regenerative & mechanical braking|
The BluePoint Atlas has a unique, pointed shape for increased aerodynamic performance. The smooth distinctive shape of the solar car leads to very little air resistance and thus a lower energy consumption while driving. It is the first Belgian solar car with a pointed shape, better known as a bullet design, and immediately also the most aerodynamic shape of any solar car ever. The design of the car solar is inspired by elements from nature, with the nose of the car resembling a shark, and the rear wings of the car resembling various birds.
The BluePoint Atlas has only three wheels, one wheel less than many of its predecessors. Having one wheel less means having one friction point between the car and the underground removed, once again leading to lower energy consumption and higher efficiency. One major challenge of a three-wheeled design is the stability of the solar car. The team has chosen a tadpole setup to mitigate this concern, having two front wheels and one rear wheel in the centre.
The solar panel of the BluePoint Atlas is made from high-quality silicon solar cells, this is similar to the solar cell technology found on the roofs of industrial buildings and residential houses. The silicon solar cells used on the BluePoint Atlas have a lower efficiency compared to the space-grade multi-junction solar cells which were used on our previous solar cars, but they are much more sustainable to produce and have more practical uses.
The pseudo-square solar cells on the BluePoint Atlas are cut into perfect squares in order to squeeze as many cells as possible on a limited surface, allowing us to build a smaller car. At the edges of the solar car, the solar cells are slightly bent using a special technique to save as much space as possible. The solar panel contains 292 silicon cells, capable of delivering almost 1000 watts of power!
For the first time ever, the Agoria Solar Team has designed and built their very own electric motor. The motor is designed specifically for solar cars, leading to many advantages in comparison with motors found on the general market. One impressive feat of the self-built motor is its efficiency, with peaks over 98%, the electric motor is better than any motor available on the market. In comparison, the electric motor of a Tesla car has a peak efficiency of 94%, combustion engines have efficiencies lower than 50%.
Fun fact: the name of the self-built motor is Suzanne, named after the sweet elderly lady living next to our workshop.