WSC: Final Gem Awards

My final Scientific Gems WSC “gem awards” for 2015. The “solar family car” gem goes to Eindhoven, for showing that a family car can still win the Cruiser class.

The “solar family car” gem goes to Eindhoven (team 40)

The “solar car family” gems go to everybody who helped the EcoPhoton team from Malaysia repair their car in Alice Springs – a group that includes several Cruiser class team members, as well as blogger MostDece (and I planned to say this several hours before the WSC handed out an official award for the exact same thing).

The “solar car family” gems go to the people who helped repair Stingray in Alice Springs


WSC: Even More Gem Awards

Even more of my Scientific Gems WSC “gem awards” this afternoon. The “faster than lightning” gem goes to Nuon, who won the Challenger class, and to Twente, who were just minutes behind them – with honourable mentions to Tokai, Michigan, and Punch, who were also in the top five.

The “faster than lightning” gem goes to Nuon (team 3) and Twente (team 21)

The “best new team” gem goes to Kecskemét College (Faculty of GAMF) from Hungary, who came seventh in the Challenger class – a spectacular performance for a new team. Honourable mentions go to Lodz, for their very nice city car, and to EcoPhoton from Malaysia, who had some bad luck.

The “best new team” gem goes to Kecskemét College (team 23)

The “blogging excellence” gem goes MostDece, for his interesting and expert coverage of the World Solar Challenge.

The “blogging excellence” gem goes to MostDece

World Solar Challenge: More Gem Awards

Two more of my Scientific Gems “gem awards” today. The “never give up” gem goes to Singapore Polytechnic, for not giving in to despair when fire destroyed their car before the race. They rebuilt it in just a month!

The “never give up” gem goes to Team 28, Singapore Polytechnic

The “media excellence” gem goes to the Twente media team ( They did it all – Dutch coverage for the fans at home, and English coverage for the international community. Technical material on topics like aerodynamics, as well as human interest stories. Photos, videos, text, and infographics (like the one below). A superb job!

The “media excellence” gem goes to the Twente media team

World Solar Challenge: Day 7

Today in the World Solar Challenge, the last few non-trailered teams came in, causing me to reflect on how poorly I’ve covered Principia (team 32, USA). They weren’t the fastest car, nor did they run into spectacular problems – they just reliably covered 3,022 km of outback driving.

See the chart above for other cars, and click to zoom (data in the chart is taken from the official timing board, with the most obviously wrong numbers removed, and with some numbers added from twitter photographs taken at control stops). The three remaining non-trailered Cruisers also arrived: Sunswift (team 75, Australia), Bochum (team 11, Germany – who drained their battery dry getting to end of timing last night), and Minnesota (team 35, USA – who made it to end of timing with three minutes to spare).

A large number of trailered cars also arrived. It will be impossible to rank these until the official results are released. Among the six trailered Cruisers were Lodz (team 45, Poland – their vehicle would make a great city car) and ITS (team 31, Indonesia – which has same national colours),

We also had the “practicality judging” for Cruisers today. Sadly, the results have not been released. In the absence of official results, I’m just going to hand out my own awards – the Scientific Gems “gem awards.” And the first of these is the sexy car gem, which goes to Bochum, for building the car that several hundred drooling engineers (even those who had successfully optimised their own vehicle for speed) wished that they had built. Bochum even had real wood inlays in the dashboard!

The “sexy car gem” goes to Bochum, for the ThyssenKrupp SunRiser

World Solar Challenge: Day 6 Wrap

Today in the World Solar Challenge, the next nine Challenger class cars (above) arrived (as always, click to zoom). These cars were (in order) Arrow (team 30, Australia), EAFIT (team 5, Columbia), Western Sydney (team 13, Australia), NWU (team 17, South Africa), Blue Sky (team 77, Canada), UKZN (team 14, South Africa), Goko High School (team 25, Japan), Jönköping University (team 46, Sweden), and Nagoya (team 47, Japan). I believe that Goko High School may be the first high school team to complete 3,022 km on solar power inside of a week.

The first two cars in the Cruiser class also arrived. Kogakuin (team 88, Japan) took out line honours, but Eindhoven (team 40, Netherlands) carried a passenger all the way. I believe that this more than nullifies Kogakuin’s speed advantage. Eindhoven is also likely to collect more “practicality points” in the judging tomorrow.

Also arriving were the first of what I’ve been calling the B race teams, EcoPhoton (team 18, Malaysia, above). These cars spent some time on a trailer, and will therefore compete on the basis of how much of the 3,022 km they were able to travel under their own steam. EcoPhoton have done very well for a new team, particularly given the bad luck they had (a serious battery fire, requiring battery replacement and bodywork repair – see this day 6 wrap by MostDece). They were followed by Cambridge (team 12, UK), who are probably ahead on the km count.

Ardingly (team 43, UK, above), another high school team, also arrived. They are in the B race of the Cruiser class, so their km count may be exceeded by one or more other Cruisers in the B race. The Ardingly students have done very well to build a working Cruiser, and their genuine enthusiasm has earned the respect of the top teams. I hope that they will all continue on to successful university studies.

At some point Siam Technology College (team 22, Thailand) arrived, although I understand that they have formally withdrawn from the race. In the Adventure class, TAFE SA (team 42, Australia) arrived as well. There are only three Adventure class cars, and all three trailered at some point.

Finally, walking back to my hotel, I spotted HK IVE (team 33, Hong Kong) on a trailer. I think they arrived too late for a formal welcome.

Above is another race chart summarising timing data that has been released (and omitting obviously wrong data), while current car positions are shown below. Tomorrow morning we should see Bochum (team 11, Germany) and Sunswift (team 75, Australia) in the Cruiser class, as well as Principia (team 32, USA) and Kanazawa (team 51, Japan) in the Challenger class. I suspect that Minnesota (team 35, USA), Anadolu (team 36, Turkey) and KUST (team 82, Korea) will be forced to trailer by the noon time limit. Other cars – 9, 80, 26, 82, 15, and 7 in the Challenger class; 28, 45, 38, and 31 in the Cruiser class; and 20 and 34 in the Adventure class – have already trailered, and are in the B race. They will no doubt attempt to clock up additional km if possible. The race is not over until Chris Selwood sings!

World Solar Challenge: Day 6, morning

Here are the World Solar Challenge GPS positions as at 09:05 Friday October 23 (Darwin time) – Day 6 of the race. Eight teams have now arrived in Adelaide, with Team arrow just in, and the teams shown on the map are on their way. About 11 hours of racing are left today and tomorrow morning.

Calculated road distances below are approximate, based on interpolation between the known road distances to control stops. The second road distance shown (in grey) is adjusted to compensate for GPS delays. See the tracker page, timing board, and social media for continued updates.

5 EAFIT Colombia (Primavera, Challenger) Approx 45 km to Adelaide 73 km/h (Adjusted 40 km to Adelaide)
13 Western Sydney Australia (Unlimited, Challenger) Approx 105 km to Adelaide 71 km/h (Adjusted 95 km to Adelaide)
17 NWU South Africa (Sirius X25, Challenger) Approx 136 km to Adelaide 70 km/h (Adjusted 132 km to Adelaide)
77 Blue Sky Canada (Horizon, Challenger) Approx 166 km to Adelaide 70 km/h (Adjusted 158 km to Adelaide)
14 UKZN South Africa (Hulamin, Challenger) Approx 182 km to Adelaide 69 km/h (Adjusted 179 km to Adelaide)
88 Kogakuin Japan (OWL, Cruiser) Approx 215 km to Adelaide 69 km/h (Adjusted 215 km to Adelaide)
40 Eindhoven Netherlands (Stella Lux, Cruiser) Approx 242 km to Adelaide 68 km/h (Adjusted 242 km to Adelaide)
25 Goko Japan (Musoushin, Challenger) Approx 305 km to Adelaide 66 km/h (Adjusted 295 km to Adelaide)
12 Cambridge United Kingdom (Evolution, Challenger) Approx 303 km to Adelaide 66 km/h (Trailered)
47 Nagoya Japan (Horizon Z, Challenger) Approx 316 km to Adelaide 65 km/h (Adjusted 315 km to Adelaide)
46 JU Sweden (Solbritt, Challenger) Approx 353 km to Adelaide 64 km/h (Adjusted 344 km to Adelaide)
11 Bochum Germany (SunRiser, Cruiser) Approx 428 km to Adelaide 62 km/h (Adjusted 428 km to Adelaide)
80 Beijing China (Sunshuttle II, Challenger) Approx 439 km to Adelaide 62 km/h (Trailered)
33 HK IVE Hong Kong (Sophie V, Cruiser) Approx 456 km to Adelaide 64 km/h (Trailered)
18 EcoPhoton Malaysia (Stingray, Challenger) Approx 473 km to Adelaide 61 km/h (Trailered)
9 Adelaide Australia (Lumen, Challenger) Approx 486 km to Adelaide 61 km/h (Trailered)
75 Sunswift Australia (eVe, Cruiser) Approx 527 km to Adelaide 60 km/h (Adjusted 527 km to Adelaide)
28 Singapore Singapore (SunSPEC4, Cruiser) Approx 546 km to Adelaide 60 km/h (Trailered)
32 Principia USA (Ra 9, Challenger) Approx 562 km to Adelaide 59 km/h (Adjusted 555 km to Adelaide)
45 Lodz Poland (Eagle One, Cruiser) Approx 566 km to Adelaide 59 km/h (Trailered)
51 Kanazawa Japan (Golden Eagle 5.1, Challenger) Approx 596 km to Adelaide 58 km/h (Adjusted 590 km to Adelaide)
38 Tehran Iran (Persian Gazelle III, Cruiser) Approx 590 km to Adelaide 59 km/h (Trailered)
34 Liberty USA (Solis Bellator, Adventure) Approx 590 km to Adelaide 60 km/h (Trailered)
36 Anadolu Turkey (Sunatolia 2, Challenger) Approx 675 km to Adelaide 56 km/h (Adjusted 667 km to Adelaide)
35 Minnesota USA (Eos, Cruiser) Approx 668 km to Adelaide 56 km/h (Adjusted 668 km to Adelaide)
7 MIT USA (Arcturus, Challenger) Approx 715 km to Adelaide 55 km/h (Trailered)
82 KUST Korea (Baek-Ho, Challenger) Approx 783 km to Adelaide 53 km/h (Adjusted 779 km to Adelaide)
31 ITS Indonesia (Widya Wahana V, Cruiser) Approx 801 km to Adelaide 53 km/h (Trailered)
15 Solaris Turkey (DesTech Solaris, Challenger) Approx 828 km to Adelaide 52 km/h (Trailered)
20 Houston USA (Sundancer, Adventure) Approx 834 km to Adelaide 52 km/h (Adjusted 834 km to Adelaide)
26 Durham United Kingdom (DUSC2015, Challenger) Approx 860 km to Adelaide 51 km/h (Trailered)
43 Ardingly United Kingdom (Ardingly Solar Car, Cruiser) Approx 1523 km to Adelaide 0 km/h (Trailered)

World Solar Challenge: Day 5

I was very happy to see the lead seven World Solar Challenge cars arrive in Adelaide today. The cars, with their approximate arrival times in Darwin time, were Nuon (team 3, Netherlands, 10:26), Twente (team 21, Netherlands, 10:35), Tokai (team 10, Japan, 11:20) – shown above – and Michigan (team 2, USA, 11:24), Punch (team 8, Belgium, 11:49), Stanford (team 16, USA, 13:54), and Kecskemét (team 23, Hungary, 15:34) – shown below. Add an hour to those times for Adelaide time, and another 20 minutes or so for them to get across the city from the timing point to Victoria Square.

Below is another race chart (as always, click to zoom). Data is taken from the official timing board for days 1 to 5 (but two obviously incorrect datapoints have been removed). In this chart, the distance is horizontal, and the vertical axis expresses time, specifically how many hours each car is behind a car driving at exactly 97.42 km/h (that’s the speed which would get a car into Adelaide at exactly closing time yesterday). Final positions on the vertical axis correspond to arrival times (but add an hour for Adelaide time, and another 20 minutes or so to get to Victoria Square). I have included Cruisers in this chart – note the compulsory overnight stop in Alice Springs for Cruiser cars.

I expect twelve cars to arrive during the course of Friday, including the top three Cruisers. The rules specify that “Solarcars must not proceed south of Port Augusta after 11:00 (Darwin time = 12:00 Adelaide time). Solarcars already running south of this point must trailer from this time.” It remains to be seen how many other cars will squeeze in under this limit to get into Adelaide on Saturday morning. In what I have started calling the B race, cars that have been trailered at some point will try to clock up as many solar kilometres as possible, given that limit, together with the closures of the Glendambo and Coober Pedy control stops at 11:20 and 14:00 tomorrow.

And here are the car positions this evening: