world solar challenge
by Tim Willmott : Be the first to leave a comment
The race attracts teams from around the world, most of which are fielded by universities or corporations. The race has a 20-year history spanning nine races, with the inaugural event taking place in 1987.
By 2005, several teams were handicapped by the South Australian speed limit of 110 km/h (68 mph), as well as the difficulties of support crews keeping up with 130 km/h (81 mph) race vehicles. It was generally agreed that the challenge of building a solar vehicle capable of crossing Australia at vehicular speeds had been met and exceeded. A new challenge was set: to build a new generation of solar car, which, with little modification, could be the basis for a practical proposition for sustainable transport.
Based on the original notion that a 1000W car would complete the journey in 50 hours, solar cars are allowed a nominal 5kW hours of stored energy, which is 10% of that theoretical figure. All other energy must come from the sun or be recovered from the kinetic energy of the vehicle. These are arguably the most efficient electric vehicles.
The event is conducted in a single stage from Darwin to Adelaide. Once the teams have left Darwin they must travel as far as they can until 5pm in the afternoon where they make camp in the desert wherever they happen to be. All teams must be fully self-sufficient!
During the journey there are 7 mandatory check points where observers are changed and team managers may update themselves with the latest information on the weather and their own position in the field. Here teams may perform the most basic of maintenance only – checking and maintenance of tyre pressure and cleaning of debris from the vehicle. There are also undisclosed check points which may be imposed by the event officials to ensure regulatory compliance.