World Solar Challenge In Australia Is Rolling — 3,000 Kilometer Solar Car Race

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The transcontinental World Solar Challenge race in Australia kicked off on Sunday, sending 42 solar-powered cars on a 3,000 kilometer (1,864 mile) race from the north coast of Australia to the south through the outback.

To be more specific here, the race started in the city of Darwin and ends in the city of Adelaide, making for a roughly week-long travel time for many race entrants, depending on the design and performance of the solar car in question.

The current record holder for the race is a team from Japan’s Tokai University, which managed to complete the race in 29 hours and 49 minutes back in 2009. Most teams don’t manage to achieve numbers anything like that, though, it should be noted.

The tour manager for the 2015 World Solar Challenge race winners, Sarah Benninkbolt of Nuon from Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, commented: “All the cars look completely different (this year), and all we know is we’ve got a good car, we’ve got it running perfectly the last couple of days and we’re confident we’re going to do everything to win.”

“This is the 30th anniversary of the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge and competitors want to be part of that,” race director Chris Selwood added. “They have been drawn to the challenge of new regulations which reduced the solar array size without limiting the size of the solar car.”

Teams from over 40 countries are participating in this year’s race. There are teams from all over the US, Japan, the Netherlands, India, Germany, the UK, Chile, Iran, South Korea, Belgium, Malaysia, Sweden, Poland, Turkey, South Africa, Hong Kong, Australia itself, Canada, and Taiwan, amongst others.

Lauren Moss, the Northern Territory Minister for Tourism and Culture, commented that the government’s A$250,000 (US$194,150) sponsorship of the solar car race was supportive of its efforts to achieve 50% renewables by the year 2030.

“Innovation is at the heart of the event and the technology showcased this year will influence continuing solar innovation for vehicles and householders in the future,” she commented. “This event is a great promotion for the NT – it shows our ability to innovate to the world.”

For more background on what exactly a solar car is, see: Solar Cars 101 — Guide To The Basics Of Solar Powered Vehicles.

Check out more solar race stories in our World Solar Challenge archives. One notable story from this year is that Team Sonnenwagen Aachen got Porsche backing for the race.


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James Ayre

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.

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