The World Solar Challenge was born out of the visions of solar pioneers,
Hans Tholstrup and Larry Perkins 1982 quest to drive a home-built solar car Quiet Achiever across Australia from west to east. Tholstrup urged others to explore the boundaries of sun-powered transportation.
"Inaugurated in 1987 with pioneer sponsor, the South Australian Tourism Commission, the World Solar Challenge continues to showcase the development of advanced automotive technology and promote alternatives to conventional vehicle engines.Today, while solar cars test the ultimate boundaries of energy efficiency, they also provide incredible insights into the capabilities of everyday vehicle technology. These innovations are at the heart of all electric cars, whether that power comes from hydrogen fuel cells, hybrid engines or even fully-electric commuter cars that draw power from solar cells on the garage roof – they all use the technology that is continually honed to perfection in the World Solar Challenge." Source: World Solar Challenge History
"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." Source: World Solar Challenge Overview
The World Solar Challenge starts in Darwin in the Northern Territory and travels the Stuart Highway to Port Augusta to the finish in the City of Adelaide in South Australia – 3000kms. The teams must travel as far as they can until 5pm in the afternoon where they make camp in the desert. The team must be entirely self-sufficent in order to sleep wherever they stop that day.
The biennial World Solar Challenge seeks to inspire teams from leading international universities and technical institutes. Partnering with private entrepreneurs, the teams come together to test and promote the ultimate synergy of nature, motion and innovation. All while addressing the necessity of sustainable transportation.
Three distinct classes, each with their own parameters, stages and goals were represented.
- The Challenger Class is conducted in a single stage from Darwin to Adelaide.
- The Cruiser Class is conducted in two stages, with a compulsory overnight stop in Alice Springs where teams may recharge from the grid. In 2013, Cruiser Class teams were able to charge from the grid in three locations, this change in 2015 will encourage teams to deploy the most innovative approaches to energy management.
- The Adventure Class is also conducted over two stages, with an overnight stop in Alice Springs. Source: World Solar Challenge 2015 Classes
Mandatory check points, seven in total, are where observers are changed and team managers have the ability to update themselves on the weather, as well as their own position in the field. Only basic maintenance, such as checking/maintaining tire pressure and cleaning the vehicle of debris may be performed. Undisclosed check points can be enforced by the event officials to assure regulatory conformity.
Watch the 2015 Video Highlights:
The 2015 Bridgestone World Solar Winners --
Challenger Class Winner: Nuon Solar w/ Nuna 8
Cruiser Class Winner: Team Eindhoven w/ Stella Lux
Adventure Class Winner: TAFE SA w/ Solar Spirit