Yet another quick solar racing update

In recent solar car news, we have now seen new car reveals from several teams. The latest ones are shown above (click to zoom). Promised new car reveals include Vattenfall16 July, Michigan19 July, Stanford21 July, Aachen22 July, WSU7 August, Durham12 August, Cambridge15 August, EcoPhoton: some time in August, and JU30 August. I will continue updating my list of teams as news and pictures come in.

FSGP 2019 team photo – L to R from front: Kentucky, Illini, Esteban (Poly Montréal), W Mich / Florida, Principia, Calgary, SIUE / Northwestern, UPRM, Illinois St, Ga Tech / NCSU, Berkeley (CalSol), Mich St, Waterloo / NJIT, with Rutgers absent (credit)

Meanwhile, 18 teams – Kentucky, Florida, CalSol (1st in 2017), Northwestern, Mich St, Illinois St, Illini, Waterloo, Principia, Ga Tech, Esteban (3rd in 2017), SIUE, Calgary, Rutgers, NJIT, NCSU, W Mich, and UPRM – raced at FSGP 2019 on 1–6 July. Final results were as below (click to zoom):

The FSGP regulations give the score for multi-occupant vehicles (MOV) as S = (D / E) × C × T, where S is the total score, D is the Total Person-Mile Distance, E is the Total External Energy usage of the solar car, C is the Completion Factor, and T is the Target Speed Derate.

The chart below (click to zoom) visualises these scores on a logarithmic axis, with six coloured bars being components of the score, and the seventh coloured bar S being the product (and therefore the sum of the logarithms) of those components. The six components are:

  • d, the total miles driven
  • d, the total miles driven with penalties
  • p, the average number of persons in the car (and so D = d × p)
  • E, the total external energy usage (as in the regulations)
  • T, the target speed derate, which penalises cars slower than 27 mph (as in the regulations)
  • h, a grey bar (the same for every team) showing the highest driving distance of any MOV entry (and so C = d′ / h)

This version of the formula, S = d × d′ × p × (1/E) × T × (1/h), makes it clear that the distance driven is essentially being squared, and hence dominates the other factors:

It’s also worth mentioning the lap speed record that was set on the COTA track: