Powerbox Navex Elektro en Mastervolt crucial during BWSC '17

The Power Box assembled by Navex Elektro has helped the Punch Powertrain Solar Team during their testing period and the World Championships in Australia. This article explains how an external Li-ion battery contributed to the third place of the Belgian team.

The testing period for the seventh Belgian solar car started at the beginning of July. To take full advantage of the limited test time we gathered as much data as possible, so that it could be thoroughly studied later on. We looked into all the parameters of the car continuously, among other things the power consumption, temperature of the battery pack and the weather conditions were continuously logged. The computers that are responsible for this all had to be powered. That was easier said than done from the back seat of our car. We had an urgent need for a solution to not lose time and data.

We contacted Navex Elektro in Antwerp, a distributor of Mastervolt products. These two companies specialize in the development and installation of standalone energy systems in water vessels and motor homes. They provide all-in solutions to equip vehicles of a working electric energy system, which was exactly what we needed.

After several discussions Navex Elektro suggested to lend us a Power box. This product produced by Mastervolt is a combination of a Li-ion battery, charger, inverter and a smart communications and security system with display that is properly installed in a rugged flight case on wheels. In summary, the ideal solution for us in the form of a completely safe, easy movable chest with four power outlets in which we could plug in our computers. The rest of our testing period went down much more efficient considering we did not need to stop every two hours to charge our laptops. The box had the perfect dimensions to neatly fit in the trunk of our trailing vehicles. This made us able to go for multiple weekend-long test drives without any loss of data or testing time!

The Power Box quickly became indispensable, so we wanted to send it along to Australia as well. All in all the data collected during the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge was even more important than the data of the testing period. In fact, without monitoring of the car it is impossible to determine a good race strategy. Sounds easy right? Not so much, problems kept surfacing about regulations regarding transport of Li-ion batteries. It seemed that we would not be able to transport the Li-ion battery of the Power Box to Australia.

Looking for a solution we turned to Mastervolt and Navex Elektro again. They got us in touch with CZONE and BEPMarine, two sister companies of Mastervolt. CZONE is a company that develops digital control systems which greatly simplify the installation of electrical systems, again ideal for use in sailing and road vehicles. BEPMarine delivers high quality parts for electrical systems, designed for use in harsh conditions both at sea and on land.

BEPMarine and CZONE worked together to provide us with another battery in Australia. The shipment arrived properly on time before the start of the race. The only thing that still had to happen was mounting the new battery in the Power Box and having it configured by Navex Elektro via the internet. During the race the system again proved its reliability. We did not have any issues with the power supply of our monitoring computers. This is easier said than done in the desert of Australia where temperatures can add up to 40 degrees or more.

We are very grateful to Mastervolt, Navex Elektro, BEPMarine and CZONE for their help to our project. The ease of use and efficiency of their solutions made our testing period and race a lot more efficient. This has had a major influence on our result. A result which we are proud of, namely the third place in the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge.


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