Covestro and Team Sonnenwagen: More than just a sponsorship

Written by: Anne Kutz

In this blog post, Anne Kutz, project manager for the Sonnenwagen, tells us why Covestro has been supporting the students at RWTH and FH Aachen University as a main sponsor for many years and explains what makes the project so special:

"Sponsorship is actually the wrong word for this project. It's much more than that: it's a close partnership in which experts from Covestro and students from Aachen have been working together for many years to make a self-made solar car more efficient and sustainable, with the help of Covestro's innovative materials and products.

At K 2022 in Düsseldorf, I was now able to tell trade fair visitors about this very special partnership during a panel talk together with students Lina and Clemens from the solar car team. A great experience! We also had the Covestro Photon as exhibit at the trade show, our current Sonnenwagen model.

Personally, I think it's incredible what Covestro and the Sonnenwagen team have achieved together: Just recently, we actually became European Champions! And we also took 1st place in the Italian Solar Challenge! What a success! Not only for the students from Aachen, but for the whole Sonnenwagen team, which includes me as well.

What fascinates me so much about the project is the connection to the Team Sonnenwagen. It’s not only based on financial support, but on the close cooperation between Covestro and the students. We regularly exchange ideas, overcome setbacks together, go through defeats and, of course, share the successes in the races. Our colleagues at Covestro always join in the excitement when the solar car competes in a race somewhere in the world! Team Sonnenwagen now feels like part of the workforce at Covestro.

This very special partnership has grown over many years: the joint journey started back in 2019, when we already stood alongside the Team Sonnenwagen and provided materials to support the construction of the solar car. In July 2021, we renewed our sponsorship and I took over the project for Covestro. A lot has happened since then: We have presented the current Covestro Photon to the public, accompanied the team to European championships and exhibited the Sonnenwagen at the Covestro headquarter.

I'm particularly happy when colleagues say to me in the corridor at the office: "Hey, you're in the Sonnenwagen team! That was a great race in Belgium!". Even though I don't drive the Sonnenwagen myself and the engineering work that goes into the car is not my doing, it makes me proud to experience so many positive reactions.

How popular the team and the project are became very clear to me, when we were looking for ideas in an internal employee campaign to make the next solar car model even more efficient and sustainable. Soooo many ideas were submitted, that was really great! We are now evaluating the suggestions together with the students and take a look at how we can use them to build the next model.

Because the planning and development of the new model is already underway. I don't know the details yet, but I'm sure that we'll be able to present a great new Sonnenwagen in 2023 - with lots of materials from Covestro!

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