Having participated in some recent discussions about the World Solar Challenge Cruiser Class, I thought I would explore the scoring again. Scoring in the WSC is based on a multiplicative formula (see reg 4.4.7), but as we all learned in high school, multiplying is equivalent to adding logarithms.
By appropriate scaling of logarithms, the chart above breaks down the various components of the multiplicative formula into additive points (black bars are negative numbers).
For example, on this system, in 2019 Eindhoven received a total of 67 points:
- 100 points for completing all three stages
- +12 points for an average of 2.6 people in the car
- −53 points for 71.2 kWH of external energy
- −0 points for no lateness
- +8 points for a practicality of 93.1%
Lateness refers to arrival at stage stops after the “soft cutoffs,” which in 2021 will be Sat 15:30 in Tennant Creek, Mon 16:30 in Coober Pedy, and 11:30 Wed in Adelaide (there are also “hard cutoffs” leading to elimination, of 17:00, 17:00, and 14:00 respectively). According to reg 4.4.8, teams are ranked by the number of completed stages, and then by score.
In 2019 Minnesota received a total of 39 points:
- 86 points for completing only one stage (thus also ranking after all the finishers)
- +9 points for an average of 2 people in the car
- −40.5 points for 25.7 kWH of external energy
- −21 points for 165 minutes of lateness
- +5.5 points for a practicality of 76.3%
Suppose a larger battery and a longer race had increased Minnesota’s external energy use to 128 kWH (an extra −20 points), but this had removed the lateness factor (an extra +21 points) and allowed achieving all three stages (an extra +14 points). Minnesota would then have been 15 points ahead, for a total of 54. This would have put them neck-and-neck for second place with Sunswift.
This example makes clear how the rules create an incentive for large batteries. It also highlights the difficulty of the second stage from Tennant Creek to Coober Pedy – I wonder if an extension to the “hard cutoff” is possible there?
Technical note: I am multiplying natural logarithms by 12.48 (so that 3020 gives 100), and I have also doubled practicality, and thus the total score (this doesn’t, of course, give practicality any extra weight). Sanity check for Eindhoven: 12.48 × ln(104×2) = 67.
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