The Bridgestone Why
20 Sep 2019
The Bridgestone World Solar Challenge is the most elite solar challenge in the world, with hundreds of participants, years of preparation and a route of over 3,000km.
As you can imagine, it’s no easy feat to bring this incredible event together, but one of the keys to the success of the event is Bridgestone Corporation.
In 2019 Bridgestone is the title sponsor for the World Solar Challenge for the fourth year running, but this partnership is certainly much more than a title.
Bridgestone’s partnership with the World Solar Challenge represents their passion and commitment to giving back to society, and making a different to the future of how people live, work, play and move, as Stephen Roche, Managing Director Bridgestone Australia and New Zealand, and Jo Hayes, Group Communications and CSR Manager, tell us.
At the core of the partnership is the sentiment of the founder of Bridgestone, who believed the key to a successful business is giving back to society.
Much like the teams that participate, Bridgestone has a real-world platform through the World Solar Challenge to continue to innovate, refine and develop low-rolling resistance technology that is applied to their mass market products, such as their Ecopia range of tyres.
Some of the BWSC teams know this all too well, having worked alongside Bridgestone and driving their solar cars from Darwin to Adelaide on a set of Bridgestone Tyres. In 2017, the Western Sydney Solar Team completed the huge trek on a single set of tyres!
Many that are involved with the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge can see the exciting potential of the outcomes each event, with the advances in solar technology made in the BWSC likely to be part of everyday lives in the not too distant future.
“One of the most exciting aspects of BWSC is seeing firsthand how it will influence the cars of tomorrow. The participants in the event are developing and experimenting with technology that will flow into the mainstream automotive industry, and the event is becoming even more relevant than ever before as car manufacturers electrify their models and introduce fully electric vehicles, with some brands even starting to integrate solar panels into their designs.”
The BWSC team solar cars are not only having an influence on vehicle manufacturing, but are even informing the production and design of Bridgestone tyres – the largest tyre manufacturer in the world.
“The Bridgestone World Solar Challenge directly impacts Bridgestone’s research and development, and in turn the production of our tyres. The event challenges the teams to design and build energy efficient cars, and in turn, that challenges us to provide them with safe, energy efficient tyres. Through the event, our Ecopia with ologic tyres were developed, and soon after, the BMW i3 electric car featured specially developed Ecopia with ologic EP500 tyres”, explain Stephen and Jo.
Bridgestone know as well how unique the BWSC is in its sense of competition. While nearly 50 teams of bright young minds travel to Australia to compete against each other, the incredible sense of sportsmanship always prevails.
“In 2017 we saw some incredibly moving stories of camaraderie. There was a team that looked like it wouldn’t pass static scrutineering because of questions about the structural design of the car, so one of the other teams worked through the night with them, helping them redesign and refabricate parts of their car just so they would have a chance to make the start line.”
“We also saw a team not unable to take part with their own car, offering their services to other teams – essentially splitting up in order to help as many other teams as possible. It’s these amazing stories that makes Bridgestone proud to be a partner of the event, because it echoes our own beliefs of serving society”.
You can find out more about Bridgestone’s partnership with the World Solar Challenge here.
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