Here is an alternate presentation of the World Solar Challenge Cruiser Class score calculation:
To illustrate the World Solar Challenge Cruiser-class scoring for 2017, here is the calculation for Kogakuin’s 2015 car (above). Disclaimer: this is, of course, my personal interpretation of the regulations.
Notice that Cruisers are not in a race this year – any arrival time during the 11:00 to 14:00 time window on Friday is OK.
Inside window? YES
Battery capacity, Q = 14.855 kWh
Number of recharges, n = 1 (at Alice Springs)
External energy use, U = (n + 1) Q = 29.71
Person-km, C = 3022
Energy efficiency, E = C / U = 101.7
Highest energy efficiency, E* = 203.6 (Eindhoven)
Relative energy efficiency, E / E* = 0.4996
Practicality P = 51.75
Highest practicality, P* = 84.5 (Eindhoven)
Relative practicality, P / P* = 0.6124
Total score, S = 80 E / E* + 20 P / P* = 39.97 + 12.25 = 52.22
This is a massively lower score for Kogakuin than was actually awarded in 2015. This year, the World Solar Challenge Cruiser Class is all about energy-efficiency, carrying passengers, and practicality. Expect to see the four-seat and five-seat Cruisers (like the Polish car below) running with every seat occupied.
It’s apparently time for lunatic end-of-the-world prophecies again. The latest relates to a “great red dragon” in the sky (a reference to Revelation 12):
It’s a false-colour image (i.e. not red at all), being taken at 100 microns, in the infrared region of the spectrum. But with enough spin, apparently it can be made to sound scary.
In the final version of the infrared sky survey, this artefact was blacked out, since it doesn’t reflect any actual stellar infrared sources (just a planet that moves around). Of course, that removal got the conspiracy-theory nutters going.
Above, the calendar for October (click for hi-res image). See more calendars here.
Following on from my route map for the World Solar Challenge – all 3,000 km or 1,900 miles of it – here are some personal route notes (revised from 2015). The graph below (click to zoom) shows approximate altitudes (calculated by overlaying the route on an altitude raster). The highest point on the route (about 730 m) is 20 km north of Alice Springs, although the steepest hill (Hayes Creek Hill, summit 203 m) is about 170 km from Darwin.
Darwin – Start
The city of Darwin marks the start of the race.
Katherine – 322 km – Control Stop 1
Daly Waters – 588 km – Control Stop 2
Dunmarra – 633 km
University of Toronto’s Blue Sky Solar team leaves the Dunmarra control stop in 2013 (photo: Blue Sky Solar)
Dunmarra once served the Overland Telegraph Line. Today it is little more than a roadhouse, motel, and caravan park. In previous races, this was a control stop.
Tennant Creek – 988 km – Control Stop 3
Tennant Creek (population about 3,500) is a small town serving nearby mines, cattle stations, and tourist attractions.
Karlu Karlu / Devils Marbles Conservation Reserve
The 1,802 hectare Karlu Karlu / Devils Marbles Conservation Reserve lies along both sides of the Stuart Highway about 100 km south of Tennant Creek. It is home to a variety of reptiles and birds, including the fairy martin (Petrochelidon ariel) and the sand goanna (Varanus gouldii). Race participants, of course, don’t have time to look (unless, by chance, this is where they stop for the night).
Barrow Creek – 1,211 km – Control Stop 4
Ti Tree – 1,300 km
Nuon Solar Team’s Nuna6 drives by a fire between Tennant Creek and Alice Springs in 2011 (photo: Hans Peter van Velthoven)
Alice Springs – 1,496 km – Control Stop 5
Alice Springs is roughly the half-way point of the race.
Kulgera – 1,766 km – Control Stop 6
Kulgera is a tiny settlement 20 km from the NT / SA Border. The “pub” is Kulgera’s main feature.
NT / SA Border – 1,786 km
The sign at the Northern Territory / South Australia border shows Sturt’s Desert Pea (Swainsona formosa), the floral emblem of the state of South Australia.
Coober Pedy – 2,178 km – Control Stop 7
Glendambo – 2,432 km – Control Stop 8
The Belgian team’s Indupol One leaves Glendambo control stop in 2013 (photo: Punch Powertrain Solar Team / Geert Vanden Wijngaert)
Glendambo is another small outback settlement.
Port Augusta – 2,719 km – Control Stop 9
Adelaide – Finish
Adelaide, the “City of Churches,” is the end of the race. The official finish line marks 3,022 km from Darwin.
As teams continue to arrive for the World Solar Challenge, here is a route map for the race. White dots are control stops.
The route here is generated by smoothing GPS position data collected in 2015, so it will not be 100% accurate.