We talked to Kjell Revenberg of Solar Team Eindhoven on how they design and develop revolutionary solar cars and here is what he said about it.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Kjell Revenberg: This is a weird time for everyone and also for me as a student.
I think it’s going quite well. I can’t see my family that often due to the virus, but living in a student house means you still have enough contact with others.
Tell us about you, your career, how you joined Solar Team Eindhoven?
Kjell Revenberg: I am a mechanical engineer from the Technical University of Eindhoven. I am 22 years old with a passion for technology and how it can be used to create a sustainable future.
I joined Solar Team Eindhoven to make a difference in the mobility sector. Every two years, a new team starts to make a new vehicle that can solve some of the current problems that lay in mobility.
I applied for either a mechanical or an organizational function, where I ended up in the position as the Team Manager. As the Team Manager, I make sure that everyone is in the right flow, and the overall communications are going good.
How does Solar Team Eindhoven innovate?
Kjell Revenberg: As a student team, we have more freedom than a regular company. As a group, we decide what direction we want to go in and can implement more experimental set-ups in our design.
This gives us the opportunity to innovate on multiple sides. Our vehicles are aerodynamic, light-weighted and super-efficient.
With our Solar panels on the roof, we prove that driving long distances is not a problem and that it could save you time from the charging stations. There is more than enough energy available in our vehicles that they can also be used for different things than just driving (V2G & V2V).
The last four teams made family cars that innovated on different fronts. All these teams competed in the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge in Australia where we became world champions every time.
With the upcoming of Lightyear, one of our original goals has been accomplished; bringing solar cars to the public. For us, a student team meant that we had to get back to the drawing table and look where we can make a difference.
Here we came with a new concept, a new vehicle, that will be bigger than the last 4 vehicles. For now, I can’t say what it exactly will be, but stay tuned as more will follow in march!
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business finances?
Kjell Revenberg: The pandemic has hit almost all the businesses around the world. Even Though we are not a business that sells something, it has hit us.
We depend on multiple partners to create our new vehicle. That means that some partners couldn’t renew our deal to be a part of the new team.
This leads to an extra challenge, but we approach it front on and stay positive that we can make our dreams come true.
Did you have to make difficult choices regarding human resources, and what are the lessons learned?
Kjell Revenberg: We, as a student team work on this project voluntarily. We all put our studies aside for 1.5 years to be a part of this. This means that we did not have to let anyone go.
It created many new situations that we haven’t had to deal with before, especially in our communication, as we couldn’t always meet in person. This is a growing process where we learn from our mistakes and improve our communications each week.
It is great to see the progress that we are booking.
How did your partner relationship management evolve? Do you use any specific tools to be efficient?
Kjell Revenberg: We have met a lot of people online instead of on location. For this, we mostly use MS Teams but are always flexible for our partners.
It has an advantage as it takes less time to meet, so we can get more done in a week. The disadvantage is that it is not as personal and you can’t get a tour of the company you meet with.
Your final thoughts?
Kjell Revenberg: Everyone is hurting from the corona pandemic, that does not mean that we should stop innovating and caring about the environment.
It is also a new opportunity for new technologies that can help a lot of people. Now more than ever, should we stay on track to have a positive impact on climate change.
Keep on innovating and stay safe!
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