TNT has shipped a solar car from the Netherlands to Australia.
The logistics company shipped the car from Eindhoven to Liege, Belgium, then flew it to Singapore, and on to Melbourne.
The four-seat prototype will compete at the World Solar Challenge, a 3,000km race between Darwin and Adelaide. World Solar Challenge said, “Having made the journey to Darwin by successfully navigating quarantine, customs, scrutineering, safety inspections and undertaken event briefings, participants are ready to start their epic journey.”
The car’s lithium batteries were shipped by boat. As they were the first of their kind with no existing documentation, TNT had to request approval from authorities to ensure customs clearance and smooth import to Australia. With new powertrains, there are new logistical challenges to consider, including the transport of batteries. Some of these are designated as hazardous material and require special procedures. Keeping the batteries at the optimum temperature is a big consideration too. If the temperature is too high then you lose charge and can’t recover it.
The cars and batteries arrived within a week of each other in perfect condition.
The vehicle – named Stella Lux – was built by a team of students from the Netherlands’ Eindhoven University of Technology. It is a wedge-shaped electric car that charges itself with solar cells on the roof.
Erik Uljee, managing director, TNT Benelux said, “We are happy to support Solar Team Eindhoven, a great team of student engineers, in winning the World Solar Challenge for the second time. Automotive is a priority industry sector for TNT and we’re glad to support research and innovation to make road transport safer and sustainable.”
Shipping delicate cargo is becoming something of a speciality for TNT. This year the company has also transported the skull of a 66m-year-old Tyrannosaurus Rex from Nevada in the US to Germany and back, and shipped a prototype R1 racing car from Frankfurt, Germany, to Miami, US for Gryphon Racing.