Off through the desert! A SolarBuggy with chainflex cables on board

Cables from igus make solar-powered off-road vehicle "Froggee" fit for the world record

The chainflex servo cables on board the SolarBuggy ensure safe energy supply
  • Client

    igus GmbH

  • Services

    Plastic bearings and energy chains

  • Technologies

    Polymer bearings and energy chains

  • Dates



January 2018 – For 18 years, teams at the University of Bochum have been developing solar vehicles. A completely new project is the SolarBuggy. The current model "Froggee" is due to cross the Australian desert in the spring of 2018, setting a new world record in the process. The buggy will carry chainflex servo cables from igus, which are ideally suited for thermal and mechanical loads it will experience.

Since the beginning of 2016, 16 students from the University of Bochum have been independently developing and constructing a solar-powered off-road vehicle. The team wants to design and develop their SolarBuggy "Froggee" independently, in such a way that it can cope with the toughest conditions for offroad vehicles, sand and dunes without problems. The goal of the project is to break the record of an Australian team for the fastest crossing of the Simpson Desert with a solar-powered land vehicle in the spring of 2018. This means a distance of 360 kilometres along the "French line" from Purni Bore to Birdsville. Attached to the roof of the SolarBuggy are 2.5 square metre of solar cells. The team has less than four days, 21 hours and 23 minutes to accomplish their project.

Highest demands on built-in components

Against this background, all components in the SolarBuggy have to cope with the tough demands and at the same time have a low weight. This is especially true for the installed chainflex cables. They are used to connect the motor controllers to the electric motors, for driving the vehicle and for the internal wiring of the contactors. The combination of low weight and diameter as well as maximum mechanical durability is the strength of the igus cables. The servo cables in the SolarBuggy have a special conductor design that ensures the high current carrying capacity and withstands the mechanical loads due to motion and vibration, so that there are no interruptions to the power supply. "The cables are shielded, provide DC and AC voltage and have a high electromagnetic resistance to external influences," explains Kay Bollerhof of the SolarBuggy team. "As they are very tough, they are ideally suited to thermal and mechanical stress in Australia," he continues.

Guaranteed reliability at high power

igus offers the chainflex servo cables with or without an inner jacket. Depending on the type, they are flame-retardant, coolant-resistant and oil-resistant, and cold-flexible. Originally, the cables were designed for use in energy chains. Tested under real conditions in the in-house igus laboratory, they ensure a maximum service life and guaranteed operational reliability. In the case of the SolarBuggy, the selected servo cables CF270.UL.350.01.D can cope with bend radii up to 7.5xd in the smallest installation spaces. Due to their PUR outer jacket, they are oil-resistant, halogen-free and silicone-free and flame-retardant.

igus sponsors SolarBuggy as part of the Young Engineers Support

Such a project as this is supported by igus under its initiative, the "Young Engineers Support" (yes). The company promotes diverse innovative and bold projects of students and young hobbyists with free product samples and technical advice.

igus GmbH is a globally leading manufacturer of energy chain systems and polymer plain bearings. The Cologne-based family business has offices in 35 countries and employs around 3,180 people around the world.

You can find more information on Young Engineers Support from igus at