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August 19, 2020

World Solar Challenge Returns to Darwin

Have you ever driven from Darwin to Adelaide? Have you ever driven 3000 km’s in a solar electric vehicle? Well if you have you would know that the drive from Darwin to Adelaide usually takes 2 full days in a normal car. By solar electric vehicle in the World Solar Challenge it will take 4 days plus.

The teams are required to be self-sufficient and camp out in the desert over night and check in at several check points along the way. At these check points drivers are only allowed to do basic maintenance such as checking tyre pressure and cleaning debris off the car.

world solar challenge aurora
Above: The Aurora 101 solar vehicle.

Hans Tholstrup was the first to make the journey from Darwin to Adelaide in 1982 in his home built solar car named ‘The Quiet Achiever’ and inspired the World Solar Challenge which officially began in 1987. The Solar World Challenge is held every two years in Darwin, with the race taking on the Stuart Highway, straight through the middle of Australia, ending in Adelaide.

Solar vehicles test the ultimate boundaries of energy efficiency. Each car is allowed to have no more than six-square metres of solar panels and with the notion that a 1000W car takes 50 hours to travel the distance between Darwin and Adelaide, solar cars are allowed a nominal 5kW hours of stored energy, which is 10% of that theoretical figure.

world solar challenge 2013 map

The World Solar Challenge 2013 welcomes 46 teams from 26 countries to the starting line in Darwin on the 6th of October 2013. The competitors in the World Solar Challenge are some of the best innovators and leaders in the renewable industry sector. The World Solar Challenge is a great platform for these pioneers in solar power to showcase their achievements and skill through an inventive example of where solar technology is headed.

This year The World Solar Challenge has three classes The Challenger Class, The Cruiser Class and The Adventure Class. Each class must meet strict regulations to race. For example; The Cruiser Class must have a shorter vehicle with a maximum length of 4.5 metres and a maximum width of 1.8 metres. The Cruiser Class focuses not on speed but practicality and it’s regulations state it must have 4 wheels, one driver and one passenger both facing forward with over-night charging.  The Adventure Class is primarily for cars that competed in past events to return, these cars usually have 3 wheels and a maximum solar array of 6 metres.

For more information on The World Solar Challenge visit: www.worldsolarchallenge.org


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