Solar Racing Basics: Logistics


Click to zoom / Public domain image

Even though the World SolarChallenge has been cancelled for 2021, I thought it worthwhile to continue the analysis of my Solar Racing Basics Poster (see this tag). There is an old military saying that “amateurs talk about tactics, but professionals study logistics.” The logistics of bringing a car and a team to Australia can be surprisingly difficult, and if you can’t do that, it really doesn’t matter how good the car is. Issues include:

  • Complexities of international freight (especially when batteries are classed as “dangerous goods”)
  • Australian customs and biosecurity regulations
  • Tickets and visas for the team
  • Covid-related regulations
  • Renting equipment and support vehicles in Australia
  • Having enough people legally permitted to drive in Australia (especially driving rental vehicles and trucks)
  • Accomodation in Australia (including tents for the Outback during the race)
  • Food in Australia (especially food in the Outback)
  • Insurance (of various kinds)
  • Other issues noted in the official Team Manager’s Guide

This comment from the Belgian team in 2017 highlights the complexity of just one issue:

“ ‘Voor mij is het de eerste keer dat ik voor zo een uitdaging sta,’ zegt logistiek manager Pieter Galle uit Leuven. ‘Het batterijpakket versturen is de grootste uitdaging voor het team. De batterijcellen die wij gebruiken zijn vaak niet toegelaten op vluchten. Om deze toch te kunnen versturen moeten er veel veiligheidsmaatregelen getroffen worden. Gelukkig heeft DHL Global Forwarding, in samenwerking met Deufol als verpakker van de goederen en batterijen alles tot in de puntjes kunnen regelen, zodat wij ons met het team volledig op het wereldkampioenschap konden concentreren.’ ”

(Translation: “ ‘It’s the first time I’ve faced a challenge like this,’ says logistics manager Pieter Galle from Leuven. ‘Transporting the battery pack was the biggest challenge for the team. The batteries we use are often forbidden on flights. To be able to send them, many safety measures need to be taken. Fortunately, DHL Global Forwarding, in cooperation with Deufol our packer, has managed all the details, making it possible for us to focus our attention on the world championship.’ ”)

To read more, see this post from Solar Team Twente and this 2016 solar car conference presentation.


1 thought on “Solar Racing Basics: Logistics

  1. Pingback: Solar racing basics revisited | Scientific Gems

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