Abu Dhabi Solar Challenge – wrap-up

The 2015 Abu Dhabi Solar Challenge is over. There was excellent coverage of this interesting event on Twitter, especially from solarracing.org. The race was also covered in local news, and some teams (like Michigan, Principia, and the Belgians) blogged about it. The map below shows where the various teams hailed from.

Although I previously estimated the final order, based on times for all three days, here is the order based on official results. Note that Tokai is now in 7th place.

2: University of Michigan Quantum (Twitter, Facebook, blog) 1st, official time 13:26:47
1: PI Solar Car Team (Twitter, Facebook) 2nd, official time 13:29:15
8: Punch Powertrain Solar Team (Twitter, Facebook, blog) 3rd, official time 14:10:02
34: Istanbul SOCRAT (Twitter, Facebook) 4th, official time 14:27:06
30: Team Arrow (Twitter, Facebook) 5th, official time 14:58:05
32: Principia Solar Car Team (Twitter, Facebook, blog, Picasa) 6th, official time 16:26:36
75: Tokai University Solar Car Team (Twitter, Facebook) 7th, official time 17:11:13
55: Hiroshima Institute of Technology 8th, official time 17:16:44
95: Apollo Solar Car Team (Facebook) 9th, official time 17:19:38
9: Team Onda Solare (Twitter) 10th, official time 17:53:25
15: ZHAW Solar Energy Racers (Twitter, Facebook) 11th, official time 20:42:33

The 2nd to 11th teams were behind Michigan by the number of minutes indicated: 1: 2.5, 8: 43, 34: 60, 30: 91, 32: 180, 75: 224, 55: 230, 95: 233, 9: 267, 15: 436. In graphical terms:

It is worth noting that Punch Powertrain (the Belgian team) were the fastest of the 4-wheel cars, and that the World Solar Challenge, in the Challenger Class and Cruiser Class, requires four wheels.

These last four teams all experienced trouble of various kinds (and therefore penalty time), but should be commended for participating:

256: Oregon State University (Twitter, Facebook) 12th, official time 27:11:29
17: Illinois State University (Facebook) 13th, official time 34:47:06
29: Eco Solar Breizh (Twitter, Facebook) 14th, official time 38:32:00
90: Team Okinawa Solar Car Project (Twitter, Facebook) 15th, official time 53:05:30

To finish my commentary, the picture below shows Michigan leading the way through the desert yesterday (photo: Noah Kaczor). Well done, Michigan!

This post has been updated with official times.

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Abu Dhabi Solar Challenge Day 3

The route for day 3 of the 2015 Abu Dhabi Solar Challenge begins again at the Shams concentrating solar power station (photo below by solarracing.org), runs through historically important Liwa to the town of Ghayathi, and then returns to the power station. Racing on day 3 started early, at 8:00 AM local time.

The Shams power station is a 100 MW parabolic-trough solar facility, although it relies on a gas-operated booster heater to increase steam temperature from 380°C to 540°C. Even just with Google Earth, it looks quite impressive. Being subject to dust storms in its desert location, keeping the facility’s parabolic mirrors clean and shiny requires trucks with robotic scrubbing arms.

Live tracking (3D version here) allows fans from across the world to follow the Abu Dhabi Solar Challenge, which involves 15 teams, who finished the second day in this official order (official timings for the first two days shown in grey):

1: PI Solar Car Team (Twitter, Facebook) – 1st, 8:35:11
8: Punch Powertrain Solar Team (Twitter, Facebook, blog) – 2nd, 8:38:41
2: University of Michigan Quantum (Twitter, Facebook) – 3rd, 8:39:26
30: Team Arrow (Twitter, Facebook) – 4th, 8:59:02
34: Istanbul SOCRAT (Twitter, Facebook) – 5th, 9:04:03
32: Principia Solar Car Team (Twitter, Facebook) – 6th, 9:48:13
55: Hiroshima Institute of Technology – 7th, 10:39:19
95: Apollo Solar Car Team (Facebook) – 8th, 11:19:32
9: Team Onda Solare (Twitter) – 9th, 11:35:33
75: Tokai University Solar Car Team (Twitter, Facebook) – 10th, 11:55:29
15: ZHAW Solar Energy Racers (Twitter, Facebook) – 11th, 12:59:27
256: Oregon State University (Twitter, Facebook) – 12th, 13:30:05
17: Illinois State University (Facebook) – 13th, 21:01:48
29: Eco Solar Breizh (Twitter, Facebook) – 14th, 23:55:42
90: Team Okinawa Solar Car Project (Twitter, Facebook) – 15th, 31:49:48

As the map above shows, the current sequence of cars is 1, 2, 34, 8, 32, 55, 30, 75, 9, 95, 15, 29, 17, and 90, with 256 apparently getting a late start (the map also shows the dunes of the famous Rubʿ al-Khali to the south). Only minutes separate the lead cars, so today promises to be a real nail-biter.

Update #1: at 9:30 the sequence of cars was 1, 34, 8, 2, 55, 32, 30, 75, 95, 9, 15, 29, 17, 256, and 90.

Update #2: at 10:15 the sequence of cars was 34, 2, 1, 8, 55, 75, 32, 30, 95, 9, 15, 17, 90, 29, and 256, but with a continuing battle for 1st place. See the map below:

Update #3: at 11:10, on the way back to the start, the sequence of lead cars was 2, 1, 34, 8, 75, 30, 55. The clouds today seem to have made an impact.

Update #4: at 11:30, the sequence was 2, 1, 34, 8, 75, 55, 30, 32, 95, 9, 15, 17, 29, 256, and 90 – with a real battle going on among 7th, 8th, and 9th.

Update #5: the order of the first ten cars across the finish line was 2, 1, 34, 75, 8, 30, 95, 55, 9, 32.

Update #6: based on times for all three days, my estimated final order for the top ten is 2, 1, 8, 34, 30, 32, 55, 75, 95, 9. That may vary with penalties and protests from today.

Here are the cars that came first and second (photo by PI Solar Car team):

Abu Dhabi Solar Challenge Day 2: the northwards run

On day 2 of the 2015 Abu Dhabi Solar Challenge, the route began at the Shams concentrating solar power station, passed through Liwa to Hameem, and then doubled back northwards past the power station toward Highway E-11, where cars will turn south to finish at the power station again. The photo below (from solarracing.org) shows Punch Powertrain Solar Team passing through Liwa for the second time:

Live tracking allows fans from across the world to follow the race. The top five cars have been battling it out all day in an extremely dramatic fashion, and the current order of cars (as far as I can tell from the live tracker) is:

2: University of Michigan Quantum (Twitter, Facebook) – 3rd at the end of the day
1: PI Solar Car Team (Twitter, Facebook) – 2nd at the end of the day
30: Team Arrow (Twitter, Facebook) – 5th at the end of the day (with a battery overheating right at the end)
8: Punch Powertrain Solar Team (Twitter, Facebook, blog) – 4th at the end of the day (but still 3rd overall, and the leading 4-wheel car)
34: Istanbul SOCRAT (Twitter, Facebook) – 1st at the end of the day (having fought their way to the lead – see this news story)
55: Hiroshima Institute of Technology – 6th at the end of the day
95: Apollo Solar Car Team (Facebook) – 8th at the end of the day
32: Principia Solar Car Team (Twitter, Facebook) – 7th at the end of the day
15: ZHAW Solar Energy Racers (Facebook)
75: Tokai University Solar Car Team (Twitter, Facebook)
9: Team Ondasolare (Twitter)
256: Oregon State University (Twitter, Facebook)
17: Illinois State University (Facebook)

These two cars seem to have had trouble:

29: Eco Solar Breizh (Twitter, Facebook) – the car was trucked in at the end of the day
90: Team Okinawa Solar Car Project (Twitter, Facebook)

As a memento of the excitement, here is another photo from solarracing.org, showing Principia Solar Car Team at the finish line:

The Abu Dhabi Solar Challenge makes a fitting introduction to Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (17–24 January) and the World Future Energy Summit (19–22 January) which follow on from it. And there is still the third day of racing tomorrow, in which the cars will have to cope with some cloudy weather!

Update: end-of-the-day notes added in grey

Abu Dhabi Solar Challenge Day 2 begins

Day 2 of the 2015 Abu Dhabi Solar Challenge has begun. Live tracking allows fans from across the world to follow the race. The photo below (from solarracing.org) shows the cars lined up for the start:

The route today begins at the Shams concentrating solar power station, passes through the Liwa Oasis to Hameem, doubles back past the power station to Highway E-11, and finally finishes at the power station again. The map below (click to zoom) shows the cars at 10:45, with the race leaders having passed Liwa:

The chart below compares the positions of the top 7 cars with their time from yesterday. Principia (32), who finished yesterday in 6th place (with a time of 5:34:55), seem to have run into trouble today, but are trying to make up for lost time. Ondasolare (9) has also fallen behind, and Eco Solar Breizh (29) had a delayed start. Punch Powertrain (8) and Team Arrow (30) have been battling it out for 3rd place, and Tokai (75) has improved on their result from yesterday to make 6th.

Dawn of Abu Dhabi Solar Challenge Day 2

Day 2 of the 2015 Abu Dhabi Solar Challenge will begin in 4.5 hours, at 10:00 local time. Live tracking allows fans from across the world to follow the race. The map below shows where the various teams hail from.

Days 2 and 3 of the event will start and finish at the Shams concentrating solar power station (photo below by Masdar, the Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company). The route will pass Madinat Zayed, Liwa Oasis, and Hameem (map here).

The weather is predicted to be sunny today, but clouding over tomorrow. The video below (from solarracing.org) shows the start of racing yesterday. See also this local news report.

Abu Dhabi Solar Challenge Day 1: end of the day

Around 12:30, in the Abu Dhabi Solar Challenge, the top eight looked like this, with Michigan in 2nd, and the Belgians having moved up to 3rd:

1: PI Solar Car Team (Twitter, Facebook) – 1st across the Day 1 finish line, official time 4:28:42
2: Quantum University of Michigan (Twitter, Facebook) – 2nd, official time 4:39:25
8: Punch Powertrain Solar Team (Twitter, Facebook, blog) – 3rd, official time 4:45:25
30: Team Arrow (Twitter, Facebook) – 4th, official time 4:46:03
34: Istanbul SOCRAT (Twitter, Facebook) – 5th, official time 4:53:44
32: Principia Solar Car Team (Twitter, Facebook) – 6th, official time 5:19:55
55: Hiroshima Institute of Technology – 7th, official time 5:55:02
75: Tokai University Solar Car Team (Twitter, Facebook) – 10th, official time 7:06:13


Team Ondasolare at the finish of Day 1 (photo: solarracing.org)

Later to cross the Day 1 finish line were:

9: Team Ondasolare (Twitter) – 8th, official time 6:25:06
95: Apollo Solar Car Team (Facebook) – 9th, official time 6:49:51
15: ZHAW Solar Energy Racers (Facebook) – 11th, official time 7:07:04
256: Oregon State University (Twitter, Facebook) – 12th, official time 7:18:08

Not yet finished as at the time of this post were:

17: Illinois State University (Facebook) – 14th, official time 10:56:24
29: Eco Solar Breizh (Twitter, Facebook) – 13th, official time 9:45:00
90: Team Okinawa Solar Car Project (Twitter, Facebook) – did not race today, official time 19:08:06

Several of the trailing cars seem to have had their GPS trackers die, so it is unclear where 17 and 29 are right now (update: @SolarRacing_org reports that 17 and 29 are, sadly, trailering in – see also his end-of-day report).

Update: official end-of-day timings added in grey