In praise of duct tape

It’s a common joke that engineers fix everything with duct tape. I’m happy to say that there’s no truth in that whatsoever.*

Photos: Punch Powertrain Solar Team (iLumen European Solar Challenge 2018), Tshwane University of Technology (Sasol Solar Challenge 2018), Solar Energy Racers (Sasol Solar Challenge 2018), Western Sydney University (World Solar Challenge 2015).

*: not everything.


Advertisements

Solar Car World Rankings Revisited


Nuon at WSC 17 (photo: Anthony Dekker)

Below is my personal world ranking of the top 21 Challenger-class solar car teams (revised with new data from an earlier list). It was produced entirely algorithmically by using linear regression on historical data to build mappings between WSC rankings and those of other races, and then applying those mappings to the results of four recent events (WSC 17, ASC 18, ESC 18, and Sasol 18). For example, this is the mapping between Sasol placings and WSC placings. It was used to map all Sasol 18 teams to expected WSC placings:

There is as yet insufficient data to rate Cruiser-class teams (apart from the actual WSC 17 results: 1 Eindhoven, 2 Bochum, 3 Arrow). But here is the table of Challengers:

Rank Previous Team WSC17 ASC18 ESC18 Sasol18
1 1 NL  Nuon Solar Team 1 1
2 ↑ 3 NL  Solar Team Twente 5 1
3 ↓ 2 US  University of Michigan 2 2
4 4 BE  Punch Powertrain Solar Team 3 6
5 5 JP  Tokai University 4 2
6 ↑ DE  Sonnenwagen Aachen P 3
7 ↓ 6 AU  Western Sydney Solar Team 6 1
8 ↑ 18 CH  Solar Energy Racers 3
9 ↓ 8 HU  Kecskemét College GAMF (Megalux) 4
10 ↓ 7 JP  Kogakuin University 7
11 ↓ 9 SE  JU Solar Team 8
12 ↓ 10 US  Stanford Solar Car Project 9
13 ↑ ZA  Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) 4
14 ↓ 11 CL  Antakari Solar Team 10
15 ↓ 13 CA  University of Toronto (Blue Sky) 11
16 ↓ 14 CA  ETS Quebec (Eclipse) 3
17 ↓ 15 JP  Nagoya Institute of Technology 12
18 ↓ 12 ZA  North West University P 5
19 ↑ FR  Eco Solar Breizh 7
20 ↓ 17 CA  Poly Montreal (Esteban) 4
21 ↓ 19 US  Massachusetts Institute of Technology 5

Note that Cruiser teams like Eindhoven, Bochum, and Arrow are excluded from the list. The letter P marks cars that participated in WSC 17, but did not finish, and thus were not ranked at the time. It must also be said that Western Sydney, Eclipse, Esteban, and MIT should probably be ranked higher than they are here – the algorithm is not taking into account the dramatic improvement in ASC teams this year. However, good ESC and Sasol performance has bumped up Aachen, SER, Eco Solar Breizh, and South Africa’s new champion team, TUT.


Michigan at WSC 17 (photo: Anthony Dekker)


iESC Race Report #3

Detailed results for the recent iLumen European Solar Challenge (iESC) have just been released. The two charts above (for Challengers) and below (for Cruisers) visualise the results. The “Total” bar on the left in each case is the sum of the other bars, which reflect points for the various sub-challenges. In the Challenger class:

  • Twente won, with Red Shift (which did the most laps) and also came second with the older Red One (which did almost as many laps, as well as doing the fastest lap and winning the KO chicane);
  • Aachen came third in their Sonnenwagen, having put in a good all-round performance; and
  • Megalux came fourth overall, having come third in the lap count.

In the Cruiser class:

  • Lodz won, with the highest calculated cruiser score (they also won the safety sub-challenge, about which I’ve heard nothing);
  • Bochum came second and third in their sexy SunRiser and blue.cruiser; and
  • Kratos EAFIT–Postobon came fourth overall, in their lovely solar sports vehicle, having run the fastest lap, won the regularity sub-challenge, and come third in the KO chicane.

See here for more information on the teams. Well done to everybody for coping so well with the terrible weather!

Update: And don’t forget to watch the great series of videos from Bochum.


iESC Race Report #2

The iLumen European Solar Challenge (iESC) in Belgium has just finished, under extremely wet conditions. Lap counts are shown below. Twente clocked up about 85% of the laps they did when they won in 2016. I will post about official results when they are released. However, Twente are clearly Challenger champions, while Lodz Solar Team has won the Cruiser class on points.


iESC Race Report #1

The iLumen European Solar Challenge (iESC) in Belgium has held the KO Chicane component of the event, under extremely wet conditions (see this!).

This component of iESC counts for 20% of final points. On mean times, Cruisers were 2.1 seconds faster in the Chicane than Challengers. The revised chart below (click to zoom) reflects the scoring (which, it must be said, has Bochum bringing home the bacon so far). Times shown are the best out of qualifying, semi-final, and final times. See also this excellent video.

Tomorrow is the big race. For fans at home interested in the weather, here is a webcam nearby, looking towards the Zolder racetrack. See also my iESC teams list and information page and the live timing board.


Quick solar racing update #2

Another quick solar car racing update. Teams have been arriving for the iLumen European Solar Challenge (iESC) in Belgium, and my iESC teams list and information page has been updated with latest news.

Scrutineering and qualification for the Sasol Solar Challenge in South Africa is complete (see my Sasol teams list and information page). Online tracking will be here. The starting grid for this race is:

  1. Tokai
  2. NWU
  3. Nuon
  4. TBA
  5. TBA
  6. TBA
  7. TBA
  8. TBA
  9. TBA

Quick solar racing update

Just a quick solar car racing update. Scrutineering for the Sasol Solar Challenge in South Africa starts in two days. I have updated my Sasol teams list with current status and three new pictures.

Scrutineering for the iLumen European Solar Challenge starts in four days. I will update my iESC teams list later.