The President of the International Solar Car Federation, Hans Tholstrup, stopped by the Petroleum Institute on Wednesday 8th July 2015 en route to Australia. He visited the Petroleum Institute Solar Car team and discussed the team’s preparations for the World Solar Challenge in Australia in October. Mr. Hans designed the world’s first solar car, The Quiet Achiever, which covered around 4000 km across Australia and later on organized the first World Solar Challenge. The adventurer shared his incredible experiences from around the world and imparted great advice to the team on their first participation in the WSC 2015. He stressed the importance of team work in the physically and mentally challenging competition and said, “Every team member is equally responsible for the team and the solar car."
On the 13th of June, 2015 The PI Solar Car team completed a successful training session held in the Western Region of Abu Dhabi at the Gayathi base. Sixteen students took part in the training event which included a variety of activities over the weekend, and with the solar car covering approximately 720 km in duration of 12 hours, held over 4 sessions. The training sessions were really important for the team’s upcoming participation in the World Solar Challenge which will be held in October, and to prepare the new members for the new challenge. The main objective of the event was to practice and simulate race-driving conditions. The response of the local people in Gayathi was positive and many people visited the team at their base to take pictures and interact with the team.
The research visit also included attending and observing the European leg of the Shell Eco Marathon which was held in Rotterdam, Holland, from the 21st to the 24th of May. The event celebrated its 30th anniversary this year and a car parade was held showcasing the development of ultra-energy efficient cars from 1985 to 2015. Around 200 teams with over 3000 students from across Europe participated in the event. It was an interesting experience for the Petroleum Institute students and they observed teams using either hydrogen fuel, battery electric or gasoline to power their cars around the street circuit while using the minimum amount of energy. The students interacted with a variety of teams and got to understand the event and the technology used so that a potential Petroleum Institute team could take part in future events.
The PI Solar Team participated in the Think Science Fair Dubai 2015 held at the Dubai World Trade Center from the 5th to 7th of May, 2015. The event is held under the patronage of Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Foreign Minister and Chairman of Emirates Foundation, in partnership with Ministry of Education and Abu Dhabi Education Council. The event is one of the largest of its kind held in the MENA region and encourages the youth in the UAE to innovate. The PI Solar Car was presented at the ADNOC stand and it generated interest from students and science enthusiasts visiting the event. It was the first time the solar car had been in Dubai and the Petroleum Institute Solar Team management thanks the Dubai Police for looking after the car during the drive.
On the weekend of 5-7th March, 2015, the PI Solar Team showcased their Solar Car at the Abu Dhabi Corniche as the Signature Project of the Innovator 2015. Innovator is an annual event organized by the Abu Dhabi government that encourages students studying in school and universities in the UAE to innovate in science and technology. There was a lot of interest in the Solar Car project with young students as well as professionals enquiring about the specifications of the car and how it was built. The event was a success for the Solar Team as members of the public interacted with the team and congratulated them on the second place finish at the inaugural Abu Dhabi Solar Challenge in January.
January 2015 - PI Solar Team secures Second Place in Abu Dhabi Solar Challenge 2015
On 19th of January, the official results were announced and the PI Solar Car Team bagged the second place overall with a two and half minute offset from the winning team; UM Solar. The PI Solar Car Team was also awarded the Shell Innovation Award for the cell encapsulation; the Best Qualifying Lap Timing and the Spirit of the Event Award. The awards were a testament to all the hard work and dedication the PI team had put into the project preparing for the race over the past few months. Moreover the support of the Petroleum Institute and ADNOC towards the solar car project played a critical role in the success of the team during the race.
The third and final day of the Abu Dhabi Solar Challenge was primarily a competition between the top two teams; the PI Solar Car Team and UM Solar Team as the overall timings were very close to each other yet quite a margin away from the rest of the teams. Throughout the final day; the UM Solar Team managed to stick closer to the poster speed limits whilst the PI Team struggled to maintain the speed limit due to the absence of the cruise control system in the car. The day ended with the PI team arriving just four and a half minutes after the Michigan team but the results were yet to be declared.
For the second race day, all the solar cars were trailered to the Shams 1 Power Plant where the race initiated at the plant going through the eastern loop of the western region to Hamim and back. The competition on the second day was much tighter with the top four teams fighting to maintain the lead position for the second day. Things got heated up as the second race neared an end; the teams were neck to neck in the city of Madinat Zayed which was a few kilometer away from the finishing point in Shams 1. The PI team threaded through the traffic to successfully overtake team UMSolar and Arrow. The PI team almost made it first again on the second day but were overtaken by Team Socrat a few minutes before the day end thus arriving a few seconds after the first team.
The PI solar car started 6th at the starting line for first race day. The months of preparation for the PI team finally paid off as they swiftly overtook the teams to secure the first position on day one. The first day saw a routine fifteen minute control stop at the UAEU campus in Al Ain which the PI team utilized to make a quick driver change whilst charging the batteries and cooling the solar array. At the end of the day, the PI team made it presence known, as the dominating performance from such a young team was surprising for everyone.
During the circuit heats, the PI team made a steady start holding its position in the middle of the leaderboard whilst the more experienced team kept a constant lead. As the PI drivers grew more confident of the car dynamics and track layout, the lap times started to improve drastically and the team jumped up to 2nd on the over lap leaderboard recording the best lap times among all teams. Right when the team was on the verge of taking the first position with the lead car just a few meter ahead; the car battery breaker tripped prematurely due to slight overheating and the car had to be trailered into the pit stop for troubleshooting. Nevertheless, the PI team completed 65 laps thus qualifying for the race and placing 6th out of 15 teams on the leaderboard.
The Abu Dhabi Solar Challenge invited 15 international teams from the 16th to 19th January to race across the western region of the United Arab Emirates solely powered on solar energy. The inaugural event started off with the scrutineering sessions being held from the 12th to 14th of January were the solar cars from each team were inspected to ensure they meet the regulations. The PI Solar Car Team breezed through the inspection sessions with a few minor issues being fixed overnight by the team. After obtaining green stickers on all technical inspections, the qualifying day took place on 15th January in the Yas Marina Circuit where the teams had to complete a minimum of 45 laps of the circuit to progress into the race.
Abu Dhabi, UAE - The PI Solar Team conducted their final test of the PI Solar Car on Thursday, 9th January 2015. The test was a final check before the inaugural Abu Dhabi Solar Challenge on 16-19th January 2015, which is part of the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week running from 17-24th January 2015. The test was simulated according to the actual race and many aspects of solar racing were practiced. The most important one was driver experience and maintaining and optimising the speed according to the road terrain and weather conditions. The team also discovered the Western Region of Abu Dhabi during this test and visited the Shams Power Plant near the city of Madinat Zayed.
December 2014 – Official Countdown for the Abu Dhabi Solar Challenge
Abu Dhabi, UAE - The PI Solar Team took part in the unveiling of the official countdown of the Abu Dhabi Solar Challenge on the Abu Dhabi Corniche on Tuesday, 30th December 2014. Mr. Khaled Al Qubaisi, UAE Rally and Endurance Driver and team ambassador, and Dr. Nawal Al Hosani, Director of Sustainability at Masdar, also took part in the event. The team were represented by the Team Director Dr. Fahad Almaskari and Team Leader Alatqa Alhanaee, and Solar Car drivers Saleh Alameri and Asadullah Saeed were also present.
December 2014 – PI Solar Car Route Testing for ADSC
Abu Dhabi - The PI Solar Team took their Solar Car for the route testing of the first two days of the Abu Dhabi Solar Challenge on the 22nd and 23rd December 2014. The testing was important to check the durability and reliability of the car and to get the drivers experience in driving a three-wheeled Solar Car. All PI Solar Car drivers took part in the testing and they were guided by the experienced International Solar Racer Sid B. The car was driven from the PI to the heart of the Abu Dhabi City via the Sheikh Khalifa Highway and it then continued onto Al Mirfa for the mock checkpoint of the first day. The second day started by passing near the gates of Masdar onto the Abu Dhabi - AlAin Highway onto UAE University in Al Ain, which was the checkpoint for the second day. The route test was successful and the drivers and the team got valuable experience for the upcoming Abu Dhabi Solar Challenge.
December 2014 – PI Solar Car Officially Unveiled to the Media
Abu Dhabi - The Petroleum Institute Solar Team was unveiled as the only team participating from the UAE in the inaugural Abu Dhabi Solar Challenge, on Thursday 11th December 2014. ADNOC and Masdar co-jointly hosted the event at the Petroleum Institute where the solar powered car was unveiled officially to the public. The dignitaries in attendance were His Excellency, Mr. Abdul Munim Al Kindy, CEO ADCO, Dr. Ahmed Belhoul, CEO Masdar, Sheikh Khaled Al Qasimi, Middle East World Rally Champion, and Mr. Mohammed Ben Sulayem, Vice-President FIA and 14 time Middle East World Rally Champion. Representatives from the sponsors of the project, including Japan Oil Development Co, Total, SunPower and Michelin were also present at the event.
November 2014 – Testing of the PI Solar Car
Abu Dhabi - The PI Solar Team conducted several scrutineering tests of the solar car at Shahama and the E20 highway on Saturday, 29th November 2014. The tests at Shahama included slalom test, figure 8 test and braking tests and the on road tests included constant speed test and stability test. All the tests were conducted successfully as per regulations and it also prepared the team for the next step of the preparation of the car. The test also allowed team solar car driver, Saleh AlAmeri, to familiarize with the car and gain valuable driving experience. It was also a good exercise for the whole team as important radio communications by the lead, chase and the solar cars were practiced and overtaking maneuvers were coordinated. The testing was successful with respect to the car, the driver experience and most importantly team work.
November 2014 – PI Solar Car Testing on Public Roads
Abu Dhabi - The PI Solar Car Project held its first high-speed solar car test run on Saturday, 15th November 2014. It was held at the E12 Sheikh Khalifa Highway between Sadiyaat and Yas Islands under the supervision of the Abu Dhabi Traffic Police. The Solar Car, driven by Emirati student Saleh Al Ameri, reached speeds of up to 95km/hr on this run. The car successfully maneuvered the highway for around 30 minutes and was able to overtake heavy as well as light vehicles with the help of the lead and the chase cars.
October 2014 – PI Solar Car First Run at Masdar
Abu Dhabi - The PI Solar Team held its first successful run of the PI Solar Car at Masdar on Saturday, 18th October 2014. The car was completely assembled on site at Masdar with the final component, the battery box, successfully tested and installed. A training session was conducted by the partnering Tokai University team on the maintenance check of the car, which is mandatory before and after every run of the solar car. It was the first demonstration run of the car and representatives of the major sponsors were present to witness the event. The car ran smoothly upto speeds of 90 km/h and some tests were conducted before and after the run. The event was successful and the team got motivated and encouraged to continue working on the PI Solar Car Project.