Best WSC car name award

Red Shift, the car from Solar Team Twente

It has been my tradition to hand out “Gem Awards” after major solar car races. This year, I’m beginning rather early, awarding the “Best Solar Car Name” gem to Solar Team Twente, for their car name, Red Shift.

Twente’s car name is a reference to the shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy, as well as being a really, really geeky way of saying eat my dust. It also continues the naming sequence previously established with their Red Engine (2013) and Red One (2015). Good luck for the 2017 World Solar Challenge, guys!

There was strong competition, but the 2017 “Best Solar Car Name” gem goes to Solar Team Twente

WSC: Final Gem Awards

My final Scientific Gems WSC “gem awards” for 2015. The “solar family car” gem goes to Eindhoven, for showing that a family car can still win the Cruiser class.

The “solar family car” gem goes to Eindhoven (team 40)

The “solar car family” gems go to everybody who helped the EcoPhoton team from Malaysia repair their car in Alice Springs – a group that includes several Cruiser class team members, as well as blogger MostDece (and I planned to say this several hours before the WSC handed out an official award for the exact same thing).

The “solar car family” gems go to the people who helped repair Stingray in Alice Springs

WSC: Even More Gem Awards

Even more of my Scientific Gems WSC “gem awards” this afternoon. The “faster than lightning” gem goes to Nuon, who won the Challenger class, and to Twente, who were just minutes behind them – with honourable mentions to Tokai, Michigan, and Punch, who were also in the top five.

The “faster than lightning” gem goes to Nuon (team 3) and Twente (team 21)

The “best new team” gem goes to Kecskemét College (Faculty of GAMF) from Hungary, who came seventh in the Challenger class – a spectacular performance for a new team. Honourable mentions go to Lodz, for their very nice city car, and to EcoPhoton from Malaysia, who had some bad luck.

The “best new team” gem goes to Kecskemét College (team 23)

The “blogging excellence” gem goes MostDece, for his interesting and expert coverage of the World Solar Challenge.

The “blogging excellence” gem goes to MostDece

World Solar Challenge: More Gem Awards

Two more of my Scientific Gems “gem awards” today. The “never give up” gem goes to Singapore Polytechnic, for not giving in to despair when fire destroyed their car before the race. They rebuilt it in just a month!

The “never give up” gem goes to Team 28, Singapore Polytechnic

The “media excellence” gem goes to the Twente media team ( They did it all – Dutch coverage for the fans at home, and English coverage for the international community. Technical material on topics like aerodynamics, as well as human interest stories. Photos, videos, text, and infographics (like the one below). A superb job!

The “media excellence” gem goes to the Twente media team

World Solar Challenge: Day 7

Today in the World Solar Challenge, the last few non-trailered teams came in, causing me to reflect on how poorly I’ve covered Principia (team 32, USA). They weren’t the fastest car, nor did they run into spectacular problems – they just reliably covered 3,022 km of outback driving.

See the chart above for other cars, and click to zoom (data in the chart is taken from the official timing board, with the most obviously wrong numbers removed, and with some numbers added from twitter photographs taken at control stops). The three remaining non-trailered Cruisers also arrived: Sunswift (team 75, Australia), Bochum (team 11, Germany – who drained their battery dry getting to end of timing last night), and Minnesota (team 35, USA – who made it to end of timing with three minutes to spare).

A large number of trailered cars also arrived. It will be impossible to rank these until the official results are released. Among the six trailered Cruisers were Lodz (team 45, Poland – their vehicle would make a great city car) and ITS (team 31, Indonesia – which has same national colours),

We also had the “practicality judging” for Cruisers today. Sadly, the results have not been released. In the absence of official results, I’m just going to hand out my own awards – the Scientific Gems “gem awards.” And the first of these is the sexy car gem, which goes to Bochum, for building the car that several hundred drooling engineers (even those who had successfully optimised their own vehicle for speed) wished that they had built. Bochum even had real wood inlays in the dashboard!

The “sexy car gem” goes to Bochum, for the ThyssenKrupp SunRiser