Solar Challenge Morocco, Last Day

The five-day Solar Challenge Morocco is over. With sandstorms, flooded roads, and mountain passes having gradients of up to 12%, it was without a doubt the toughest solar car race in the world. Six Challenger Class cars competed (for details, see my illustrated teams list with social media links).

Solar Team Twente (NL, team 21) won the event (as well as winning the day, on adjusted timings). They were followed by:

In addition, Solaride, from Estonia, had the only Cruiser Class car, and raced in Adventure Class. The photograph in the graphic is from Solar Team Twente. Official results are here.


Solar Challenge Morocco, Day 4

Four days of the five-day Solar Challenge Morocco are over. Six Challenger Class cars are competing (see my illustrated teams list with social media links for details). Cars climbed to about 1,280 m today, before descending back to about 730 m. The conditions were also challenging, with roads awash with water.

Solar Team Twente (NL, team 21) holds their lead over Agoria Solar Team (KU Leuven, BE, team 8), with Vattenfall Solar Team (Delft, NL, team 3) in third place. The photograph is from Top Dutch. Official results are here.


Solar Challenge Morocco, Day 3

The Solar Challenge Morocco is ongoing, with the race running until 29 October. Six Challenger Class cars are competing (see my illustrated teams list with social media links for details). Cars climbed to about 1,280 m today, before descending back to about 700 m. The weather was also challenging, with clouds and sandstorms.

Solar Team Twente (NL, team 21) has taken the lead from Agoria Solar Team (KU Leuven, BE, team 8), with Vattenfall Solar Team (Delft, NL, team 3) in third place. The photograph is from Hans-Peter van Velthoven / Vattenfall. Official results are here.


Solar Challenge Morocco, Day 2

The Solar Challenge Morocco is ongoing, with the race running until 29 October. Six Challenger Class cars are competing (see my illustrated teams list with social media links for details). Cars climbed to about 1,690 m today, before descending to about 700 m. Some of the mountain roads had inclines of up to 12%.

Agoria Solar Team (KU Leuven, BE, team 8) is still in the lead overall, although Solar Team Twente (NL, team 21) finished first today. The photograph is from Sonnenwagen Aachen (DE, team 7). Official results are here.


Solar Challenge Morocco, Day 1

The Solar Challenge Morocco has begun, with the race running until 29 October. Six Challenger Class cars are competing (see my illustrated teams list with social media links for details). Cars climbed to about 1,850 m today, before descending to about 730 m.

Agoria Solar Team (KU Leuven, BE, team 8) is currently in the lead, followed by Solar Team Twente (NL, team 21), Vattenfall Solar Team (Delft, NL, team 3), and Top Dutch Solar Racing (NL, team 6). The photograph is from Agoria.


Solar Challenge Morocco begins

Scrutineering for the Solar Challenge Morocco has begun, with the race running from 25 to 29 October. Six Challenger Class cars are competing (see my illustrated teams list with social media links for details). The montage above (assembled from team instagram feeds) shows the cars:

That is one 4-wheel bullet car (Top Dutch), three 3-wheel bullet cars, and two 3-wheel asymmetrical catamarans. In addition, Solaride, from Estonia, has the only Cruiser Class car.

Update: qualification lap times were:

  • Top Dutch (NL, team 6): 02:17 (68.69 km/h)
  • Vattenfall (NL, team 3): 02:23 (65.81 km/h)
  • Agoria (BE, team 8): 02:25 (64.90 km/h)
  • Twente (NL, team 21): 02:30 (62.74 km/h)
  • Chalmers (SE, team 51): 02:45 (57.03 km/h)
  • Sonnenwagen Aachen (DE, team 7): car being repaired after an accident
  • Solaride (EE, team 1, Cruiser): –

Update: the route for the event is as follows (the map below shows elevation):

  • Day 1: Agadir to Zagora
  • Day 2: Zagora to Merzouga
  • Day 3: loop from Merzouga
  • Day 4: Merzouga to Zagora
  • Day 5: Zagora to Agadir

Vattenfall is presenting a delayed live feed of the race.


European Solar Challenge results

The iLumen European Solar Challenge is over. Challenger Class results are shown above, and Cruiser Class results below. The heights of the bars show points allocated in the various categories. Twente was third overall on points in the Challenger Class, although a very close second in terms of laps (344).

A number of teams had some unfortunate problems, and the Cruisers from Eindhoven and PUT Solar Dynamics were not able to hit the track at all. For pictures, see team social media (see my list of teams) or iESC social media at        (click on the icons).

Update: see also this lap chart.


Six new solar cars

For solar car fans, here are six newly revealed cars. They will race at one or both of:

SCM  NL  Vattenfall Solar Team (Delft) 

Three-wheel (outrigger) challenger (new car: Nuna11) – this year will be the last year that Delft partners with Vattenfall. Starting in 2022, Brunel will be their main sponsor. They have been recruiting for the 2022 Sasol Solar Challenge, and will also race in Morocco. Their new car features an asymmetrical top surface (to create more downforce on the left wheel), a new motor cntroller (suitable for hills), and a LiFePO4 battery.


Credit (click image to zoom)

iESC  SCM  NL  Top Dutch Solar Racing 

Challenger (new car: Green Spirit) – they are hoping to race their new car in Morocco.


Credit (click image to zoom)

iESC  SCM  BE  Agoria Solar Team / KU Leuven 

Three-wheel (tadpole) challenger (new car: BluePoint Atlas) – they have built a new car to defend their title. It is named after the Atlas Mountains.


Credit (click image to zoom)

iESC  SCM  NL  Solar Team Twente 

Three-wheel (tadpole) challenger (new car: Red Horizon) – they have built a three-wheeler this year, and will race both at Zolder and in Morocco.


Credit (click image to zoom)

iESC  SCM  DE  Sonnenwagen Aachen 

Three-wheel (outrigger) challenger (new car: Covestro Photon) – this team did very well in 2019, in spite of being blown off the road. They are excited about racing at Zolder again. They will race 2 cars at Zolder: the new car (7) and the previous car (70).


Credit (click image to zoom)

iESC  TR  Solar Team Solaris (Dokuz Eylül University) 

Challenger (new car: S11) – they missed the last ESC, but hope to attend the next one with their new car.


Credit (click image to zoom)


World Solar Challenge: the Spirit of the Event

The Bridgestone World Solar Challenge is on again in a year’s time. Here are the last four winners of the “David Fewchuk Spirit of the Event” Award. Together they demonstrate what the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge is all about:

2013 – Stanford Solar Car Project

Stanford came fourth in 2013, after a tough battle against Twente for third. This famous TEDx talk by Rachel Abril illustrates their spirit.


Photo: SSCP

2015 – A Team of Helpers

In 2015, UiTM EcoPhoton Solar Racing Team suffered a devastating battery fire. At Alice Springs, a group of Cruiser-class team members were having a stage stop, and helped with overnight repairs of the car (mostly from UNSW and Minnesota, I understand, plus some people from Bochum, Eindhoven, and Kogakuin, together with some WSC officials and some solar car alumni travelling along with the race as spectators). If I recall correctly, Adem Rudin (a University of Minnesota Solar Vehicle Project alumnus) accepted the award on behalf of the whole group, and the award was retained by EcoPhoton.


Photos: MostDece

2017 – Nuon (now Vattenfall) Solar Team

In 2017, Nuon (now Vattenfall) Solar Team won the Challenger class, but was also awarded the “David Fewchuk Spirit of the Event” Award for their “professionalism, team spirit and technical excellence.”


Photo: Anthony Dekker

2019 – Sonnenwagen Aachen

Sonnenwagen Aachen won the award in 2019 for not giving up in the face of all kinds of trouble. They stopped for five hours to repair their car on the Wednesday, just before Coober Pedy, after the car was blown off the road. There was another stop between Glendambo and Port Augusta, due to a broken shock absorber that had been damaged in the crash (Western Sydney Solar Team kindly helped get them back on the road). They wound up finishing sixth, and they also won the Safety Award. Ironically, the regulations for 2021 have been altered to rule out such a quick return to the road in future.


Photo: Anthony Dekker


European Solar Challenge: Results (2)

This will be the second of two posts on the results of the just-completed iLumen European Solar Challenge (iESC), following on from this post.

To begin with, consider this chart of lap counts over time (using the same colours as the previous charts). Problems, recharges, and even (if you look closely) driver changes are clearly visible (click to zoom). The dotted red line shows the champion performance of Solar Team Twente in 2016, surpassed by 5 cars this year. The dotted blue line shows the fastest Cruiser, Bochum’s 2013 PowerCore SunCruiser, in that same race (bear in mind, though, that it drove with no passengers, while this year both Stella Era and Stella Vie ran with 3 passengers each!). Particularly notable is the Belgian decision to allow BluePoint only one recharge stop (the sunny weather and the superb efficiency of the car made that feasible).

This chart shows the calculation of the final scores, incorporating points for most laps, for dynamic parcour timing, and for fastest lap. The left-hand coloured bars (total scores) are each the sum of the other bars of the same colour. So Agoria 1st, Twente 2nd, and Top Dutch 3rd:

Scoring in the Cruiser class was simplified to be based on laps, but with bonus laps for the dynamic parcour timing and fastest lap won by Stella Vie. Nevertheless, Stella Era still won: Eindhoven 1st and 2nd. I won’t include a chart for that.