It doesn’t really matter if you are a dyed in the wool petrol-head, have zero interest in motors, are a child of the sixties or a millennial, this is a car that has instant double-take attractiveness. A product with a razor sharp technical specification, designed with a precise purpose but which somehow just oozes pure design style, a 1960’s space exploration design style, so sleek and curvaceous.
The 1960’s with a sprinkle of 21st century!
So just how do we end up with a car looking like this in 2017? Merge the talents of Bochum University of Applied Sciences with a sponsorship package from Thyssenkrupp and some very talented racing car suspension designers from subsidiary Bilstein and point them all in the direction of the “World Solar Challenge” and this is what you get. The car titled blue.cruiser is the third cooperation between Thyssenkrupp, the parent company of the Bilstein brand and the University of Applied Sciences at Bochem, regular participants in this event.
Advanced Composite Manufacture
Aerodynamics and wheel hub motors visible in this shot.
The fourteenth iteration of the Solar Challenge will take place this October in Australia with competitors charged (that is a very poor pun!) with covering 3,000km between Darwin and Adelaide in record time, powered only by the sun. Bilstein’s best race developed fully adjustable Modular Damper System with individual electronically adjustable bump and rebound damper setting are automatically controlled by the car’s brain.
Bilstein’s MDS racing damper with electronic control.
The design team from Bochum University needed absolute flexibility in suspension system design to allow them to optimise the car’s advanced aerodynamics. Constrained by the 5m2 of integrated solar panel area among other limitations means refining the car’s efficiency is the key to scooping the top prize. The final package as you see here is devastatingly handsome with swooping lines, measuring a full 5 metres long and a meagre 1.17 metres tall. Even though this car is manufactured with ultra modern composites over a super light steel space-frame and fitted with the latest in Bilstein’s race car suspension dampers, this is far from a specialist racing car. It is entered into the Cruiser Class meaning that it is equipped with four seats and is a hint of technology we expect to see in the main stream of future car design.
What makes this even more notable for Bilstein’s engineers is the ultra efficient four wheel drive system deployed by the blue.cruiser deploys four wheel hub motors. This required not only the flexibility and adjustment scope of the suspension system to tune the aerodynamics but effective control of the much higher than standard unsprung mass of each wheel hub motor. The dynamic adjustment of the electronically controlled MDS suspension ties all of these parameters together in a way not otherwise possible.
Once again OTTO car parts is happy to partner with Bilstein and support the Thyssenkrupp sponsored Bochum University team in their 2017 Solar Challenge.