SKF was a proud sponsor of the 2018 Sasol Solar Challenge (SSC). The eight-day solar journey kicked off in Pretoria on 22 September, finished in Stellenbosch on 29 September. This biennial competition draws teams from across the world with participants designing and building solar-powered vehicles which they drive across South Africa, competing to cover the most distance during the specified daylight hours. The SSC is a platform for testing new technologies and this year featured some ground-breaking innovations.
SKF has over 100 years of experience in a range of industries. Testament to the Swedish group’s immense knowledge in the automotive field is the fact that SKF has the longest standing partnership in Formula 1 with the Ferrari team. Environmental conservation was the motivation behind the company’s decision to participate in this year’s event. SKF implemented its BeyondZero strategy with the resolute objective of actively reducing the company’s environmental impact through a dual approach: the optimisation of its logistics and manufacturing processes, as well as innovation to offer customers new technologies, products and services with enhanced environmental performance characteristics.
The scope of SKF’s sponsorship of the SSC took the form of technical and product advice offered to the participating local and international teams, from build right through to the finish line. SKF followed the teams along the 2500 km route, setting up a technical area at each overnight camp, where the bearing and rotating equipment specialists provided advice on numerous aspects including bearing alignment and specifications.
Growing from a mostly local event with only one professional competitor, this year, the sixth SSC was the biggest in its 10 year history. Approximately 15 international teams including 2016 Dutch title defenders, Delft University, joined local teams to compete for the trophy. The South African contingent was represented by a number of Universities including the North West University, whose solar car team was the first African team to ever cross the finish line at the World Solar Challenge in 2015.
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