Wind-driven 'Ventomobile,' constructed by 20 Stuttgart University students, won the "Aeolus Race" in the Dutch town of Den Helder.
Racing the extremely stylish and lightweight three-wheelers, the vehicles of five European universities and research centres, had to overcome difficulties while competing against one another.
The Stuttgart team was also awarded prizes for the 'innovative design.' The 'ECN-Impulse' built by the Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands (ECN) came in second.
The Flensburg University of Applied Sciences won the third prize with their very solid but slow 'Headwind Tricycle.'
In this first ever race, participating teams were challenged to drive directly into the wind, without tacking. During the preliminary races, the Stuttgart Ventomobile had already proven to be the most lightweight and most efficient vehicle among the contestants when, with its 130 kg, it succeeded in racing at 64 percent of the wind speed directly against the wind.
From then on it was considered a serious contender for the win, according to a Sciencedaily report.
"Winning this prize was a great reward for our intense construction work during the last few months," said a thrilled Alexander Miller. Working with the 20 students, he and Jan Lehmann developed and constructed the 'Ventomobile' from the summer of 2007 onwards with the support of the Endowed Chair of Wind Energy (ECWE) at the University of Stuttgart.
The students constructed the drive shaft and the rotor blades of the three-wheeler utilising the know-how at the Stuttgart University Department of Composites and Lightweight Construction.
Martin Kühn, who heads the ECWE and mentor of Stuttgart team said: "the expert knowledge the students acquired during this project constitute an unique experience which will prove extremely helpful in their future careers."