World Solar Challenge: The Challengers

 
 
 
Clockwise from top left: Principia Solar Car Team’s Ra9, Punch Powertrain’s Punch One, MIT’s Arcturus (rendering), Cambridge’s teardrop-shaped Evolution, Stanford’s Arctan, Solar Team Twente’s Red One

In the World Solar Challenge Challenger class, the field has increased from 23 solar-powered racing cars (in 2013) to 31 (this year). As in 2013, there is a reduced maximum length (4.5 m) and a requirement for four wheels. The big change in the rules is the limitation that “teams may not reconfigure solar collectors outside the dimensions of the car, or employ charging stands or cables carried by support vehicles.” This excludes some charging strategies used in past years, and makes the outcome of the race much harder to predict. With limited opportunity for “secret weapons,” winning will require that teams (in the words of Michigan’s Noah Kaczor at Abu Dhabi) “do everything to shave just milliseconds off of every step of the race.”

Below are the Challenger class entrants for 2015. These teams will all be camping along the side of the Stuart Highway each night, as they race from Darwin to Adelaide. We wish all 31 teams the very best of luck – although, if 2013 was any indication, less than half the vehicles will make it all the way to the finish line of this very, very tough race.

The winning time in 2013 was Nuon’s 33 hours, 3 minutes. I wonder what it will be this year?

Click on the symbol for detailed team profiles, or on the team social media icons for more information.

Note: this page was updated on 29 October 2015 at 10:20 AUS Eastern Daylight Time

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34 thoughts on “World Solar Challenge: The Challengers

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