Solar Car World Rankings

Nuon at WSC 17 (photo: Anthony Dekker)

Here is my personal world ranking of the top twenty Challenger-class solar cars. It was produced entirely algorithmically by using linear regression on historical data to build mappings between WSC rankings and those of other races, and then applying those mappings to the results of four recent events (SASOL 16, ESC 16, WSC 17, and ASC 18). There is as yet insufficient data to rate Cruiser-class teams (apart from the actual WSC 17 results: 1 Eindhoven, 2 Bochum, 3 Arrow).

Rank Team SASOL16 ESC16 WSC17 ASC18
1 NL  Nuon Solar Team 1 1
2 US  University of Michigan 2 2
3 NL  Solar Team Twente 1 5
4 BE  Punch Powertrain Solar Team 2 3
5 JP  Tokai University 2 4
6 AU  Western Sydney Solar Team 6 1
7 JP  Kogakuin University 7
8 HU  Kecskemét College GAMF (Megalux) 3
9 SE  JU Solar Team 8
10 US  Stanford Solar Car Project 9
11 CL  Antakari Solar Team 10
12 ZA  North West University 4 P
13 CA  University of Toronto (Blue Sky) 11
14 CA  ETS Quebec (Eclipse) 3
15 JP  Nagoya Institute of Technology 12
16 TR  Istanbul Technical University (ITU) 7 P
17 CA  Poly Montreal (Esteban) 4
18 CH  Solar Energy Racers 8
19 US  Massachusetts Institute of Technology 5
20 TR  Dokuz Eylül University (Solaris) 9

Note that, for ESC 16, the 3rd, 4th, and 5th place cars were all Bochum Cruisers and are therefore not listed here, while 6th was Onda Solare, which is now also a Cruiser team. The letter P marks cars that participated in WSC 17, but did not finish, and thus were not ranked. It must also be said that Eclipse, Esteban, and MIT should probably be ranked higher than they are here – the algorithm is not taking into account the dramatic improvement in ASC teams this year.

Michigan at WSC 17 (photo: Anthony Dekker)


15 thoughts on “Solar Car World Rankings

  1. Tony, how would the ranking look like including the third important race of 2016 (FSGP/ASC), with SER in disguise of ‘Dunwoody Institute’ 😉 ?

    • I included ASC 16 as part of the historical data (used to build the ASC/WSC relationship), but those relationships were then applied to the most recent results from ASC, ESC, SASOL, and WSC.

      I was also forced to treat Dunwoody as a separate team in my database (because SER raced two teams at that event). Using the mappings I have, Dunwoody would have placed about halfway on the 2016 version of this list.

      Since it can no longer cause confusion, I have now credited that ASC 2016 result to SER in my database (see my SASOL teams list).

      I will recompute this list after ESC 18 and SASOL 18, and I expect that I will see SER further up the list then!

      • Thanks, Tony! We are currently finishing a new car SER-3, according to WSC-2017/SSC-2018 Challenger Class regulations. As always, a race before the race, especially if team members work fulltime in their main job 😉

  2. Hi Tony

    You are clearly too polite to mention here the “official” world rankings as compiled by the Solar Car Federation. I am not! Your ranking is very much more balanced than theirs, principally because it obviously places more significance on where and how cars complete a race than just the name of the race. Therefore we do not have the ridiculous suggestion that App State, with due respect to them, are nearly the equal of Twente thanks to their participation in two North American events. Nor, at the top of the table, do we have Nuon earning more points for “winning” in Egypt than Twente did for their 24 hour marathon at ESC.
    You might think that I’m suggesting they make some changes to their scoring system.
    I know that it’s difficult to assimilate sometimes but will it be possible to incorporate the Suzuka result in your rankings? I’m sure that you do not mind that it is FIA regulated!


    • I’m trying to estimate how good teams currently are, while the ISF rankings measure something completely different. Thank you for saying that mine are more balanced; I can only agree.

      I thought about incorporating Suzuka, but the language barrier didn’t help. Also the classes are different, and the only WSC/Suzuka overlap team seems to be NIT. One datapoint is not enough to build a linear regression model!

      It would also be highly desirable to incorporate Carrera Solar Atacama, but again, there are not enough datapoints to build a linear regression model

      • I made a suggestion a while back that there might be a lower tier of events that might not compare to the challenges that are faced at ASC or WSC but that nonetheless deserved some recognition for successful teams. Atacama is a prime example of that, a serious challenge but the winner cannot be recognised because of the lack of competition. My suggestion was that for events outside of the top four a simple 3.2,1 points score would have to suffice, even if it did not necessarily reflect the effort and achievement involved. I also felt that the holder of the World speed record might be recognised as an incentive to extend that frontier.


      • You’re right, but I can’t see how to do that with Atacama other than subjectively.

  3. After taking a look at the Suzuka results I wonder if, rather than using only NIT for comparison, you might be able to use performance. I think that we would have to ignore the differences in the designs of the cars but, by and large, I would suggest that the achievement here is easily as good as that at WSC. The obvious rider to that statement is that albeit it is only over five hours. The average speed of the winning team is phenomenal considering that it is around a race track, teams at WSC can drive 400 km with hardly any steering at times and even then only the top teams achieve higher averages.
    The two glaring omissions in your table and that of the ISF, for different reasons, are Team Red Zone and Ashiya.


  4. My understanding is that the ESC is a 24h race on a track, thus similar to the FSGP.
    Therefore you could include the results of the FSGP2017 in your compilation.
    At the same time the FSGP2018 could be included as well.

      • In order to be at the top of the rankings is to win the most competitions possible. Wouldn’t you want to include the FSGP then?
        In the even years there are two competitions in the US, FSGP and ASC ( or the tour as it is now called). Thus participating in both is like doing a ESC and a WSC and this could should be represented in the rankings.

        One might argue that all races are not equal, which is true, some are shorter FSGP and ESG are 24h instead of the ~37h of ASC2018, or distances could be different as well max distance of the FSGP2018 was about half of the ASC rally.
        I think the ISF used to have a ponderation to take this into account.

        In the futur the ranking could be updated between WSC in order to compared same generation cars.
        WSC2017, FSGP2018, ASC2018, CSA2018, SASOL2018, ESC2018, FSGP2019

      • I think you might be misunderstanding my ranking scheme. “Winning the most competitions possible” has nothing to do with it.

      • Yep, I think you are right :).
        Thanks for this nice ranking, I can’t wait to see your next blog post on solar cars

  5. Pingback: Solar Car World Rankings Revisited | Scientific Gems

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