Today, the University of Michigan Solar Car Team’s semi-trailer leaves for shipment to Australia for the 2017 World Solar Challenge. On arrival, it will participate alongside the team in our 3000 km World Championship race from Darwin to Adelaide.
The semi-trailer– packed with crucial supplies– has a long journey ahead of it, and we have entrusted it to the capable hands of Höegh Autoliners.
The trailer will leave the United States in Baltimore aboard the vessel Höegh Yokohama. It will then travel to Bremerhaven, Germany, where it will be transhipped on to Höegh’s Europe to Oceania service before arriving in Melbourne, Australia. There, it will be met by our Race Crew in time for final race preparations.
An integral part of our race operations, the semi enhances UM Solar’s mobility and ability to problem-solve on the fly. The semi will store everything our Race Crew will need to eat, sleep, and perform car maintenance while racing through the Outback. This means military-grade tents, car parts, tools, and—when it’s not driving or charging—the solar car itself.
In short, the semi serves as a hub of operations that carries everything necessary for a successful race. This kind of support is crucial when competing in an event that can find the team as many as 300 km from the closest sign of civilization—often just a gas station.
In the event that the car malfunctions, underperforms, or is damaged while on the road, the semi holds enough materials for the team to fix or even completely rebuild any part of the solar vehicle. The only exceptions are a few components that are impossible to build on the road, like the carbon fiber chassis. The Outback is unpredictable and solar racing is grueling, so the insurance provided by our semi trailer is indispensable.
As the only solar-racing team that utilizes a semi-trailer over a smaller box truck, we believe the comprehensive inventory of supplies it allows us to carry give us a competitive edge. Höegh makes this competitive edge possible by transporting the semi on their Roll on-Roll off service. With up to six meters of free deck height and the ability to load cargo as heavy as 375 tons, Höegh’s Ro-Ro vessels are more than capable of transporting our full-sized semi trailer. With 90 years in shipping, the experience and expertise that Höegh has built over the years gives us the confidence that their fleet is conceivably the best equipped in the world to safely and reliably ship our semi to and from Australia for us.
Our partnership with Höegh allows us to bring our semi-trailer to and from Australia for every race—allowing a level of support unmatched by any other team in the race,” Operations Director Peter Rohrer explains. “Without Höegh’s generous support, we would be hard-pressed to maintain the level of excellence we rely on."
In the Fall, after UM Solar has completed the World Solar Challenge, Höegh will not only ship back the semi-trailer, but the solar car as well.
Safe transportation is crucial for the car. With its fragile solar array affixed to the top and ultra-light aerobody, our car is a highly specialized and expensive vehicle that must be handled with care. This is guaranteed; Höegh’s cargo handling personnel are on-site at both load and discharge to carefully monitor the cargo operations. Furthermore, by stowing the car under deck no seawater, which can cause erosion, will reach the vehicle during the entire transportation process.
Höegh Autoliners has supported the team since 2015, and we have always had very positive experiences with Höegh’s handling and shipment of our solar cars; we know we can trust Höegh with our most exciting vehicle yet.
The support of Höegh Autoliners sets up the University of Michigan Solar Car Team for success in the 2017 World Solar Challenge, and makes possible high-functioning race operations in the middle of the Outback.
Thank you, Höegh Autoliners!