A journey to a place that no vehicle has ever reached. World record mission to the highest volcano on earth. To the top with electric power
The Swiss Startup DDP Innovation has developed an electric 4×4 truck for commercial off-road operations. To promote and prove the technology of their vehicle, they want to set a new world altitude record reaching 6893 m high (22437 ft) in Chile – Ojos del Salado with a land vehicle, in a journey completely powered by solar.
Join them in the adventure and find more information about their mission in https://peakevolution.ch
Some electrical challenges to overcome
3 major challenges were considered when looking for energy equipment for this type of mobile application.
The first challenge is charging the high voltage traction battery with solar energy taking into account that the closest power supply is 300 km (186 mi) away.
The second challenge is the ability to operate in harsh environments with highly volatile weather conditions (temperature, humidity, air pressure). For this, the reduction of dielectric strength of the air and the cooling strategy are key.
The third challenge is reliability and thus providing reasonable redundancy in case of component failure without penalizing the vehicle performance.
Studer, technical partner of the expedition
Our products were selected to support this expedition. The vehicle incorporates 5 solar charge controllers vt65. We were in contact with the development team during the design of the electric system.
The solar modules are divided into 5 strings of 4 panels each. One string is mounted on the vehicle roof and provides power constantly while 4 strings are laid out on the ground during the midday hours to charge the battery.
The maximum PV voltage is limited to 65V to avoid electrical breakdown inside the devices. The peak power is set to 1480Wp per vt65 because the system spends around two weeks at an altitude of 5000m. The 4 modules of each string are connected 2s2p and each string feed one vt65. The power is then converted from 24V to 300V by 2 Brusa BSC624 DC-DC converters.
Peak Evolution, a mission with long-term benefits
The project is still in progress. The mobile solar plant with our devices is operational since mid-2022. The team is working in the mission preparation. The expedition is planned for end of 2023, starting Salar de Maricunga, at 3700m to start with acclimatization. Then to the camp “Atacama” at 5200m, the base camp of Ojos del Salado, continuing with acclimatization. As soon as the weather conditions are right, the attempt to drive to the summit starts then, by beginning of 2024. The team will work its way slowly upwards in several daily operations. We are looking forward to it and wish all the success in this great adventure to the fantastic Peak Evolution team.
You can follow the journey in the Peak Evolution website and social media.