Another preliminary version of my race chart (I’m using the same baseline speed I used in 2017). The right vertical axis shows arrival time at “end of timing” in Darwin time (Adelaide time is an hour later).
A preliminary version of the race chart I did in 2017 (non-trailered Challengers only). I’m using the same baseline speed I used in 2017, although the front-runners are much faster this year. The temporary problem faced by Kogakuin and the longer-term battery-overheating problem of Top Dutch are clearly visible.
The charts above and below (click to zoom) show the dimensions of some of the Challenger-class cars in the World Solar Challenge coming up this October (see also my illustrated teams list). In the chart above, ⬤ = cars with silicon arrays (4 m2 allowed), ⬛ = thin film single junction (3.56 m2 allowed), and ▲ = multijunction gallium arsenide (2.64 m2 allowed). All three technologies are in use this year. Hollow symbols denote cars from 2017.
Particularly noticeable is Twente’s incredibly shrinking car. They switched technologies this year, but were also so efficient that their new car is about 18% smaller than Delft’s – almost a square metre smaller! There are also three visible clusters – larger silicon-array cars at the top right, compact catamarans (like Twente and Delft) at the left, and monohulls at the bottom right. In the chart below, solid lines show dimensions for this year, and dotted lines those of 2017.
Update: the width of Eclipse’s entry has been corrected (the impact attenuator has been removed for WSC).
In recent solar car news, we have now seen new car reveals from HUST (pic), Top Dutch (video), Twente (video), Blue Sky (video), the commercial solar car Lightyear One (video), Kogakuin (video), and – just now – Agoria (video and below).
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.
Friday 11:35. 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.
Recently I made a poster of the favourites (based purely on 2015 performance) for the 2017 WSC. Here is a somewhat more subjective list of new, innovative, and rising teams. All worth watching! For more details, see my annotated list of teams.
MostDece has written a superb blog post on the WSC challengers. Based on that, I’ve updated my previous post on dimensions. The infographic above (click to zoom) shows the reported length and width of 16 WSC cars (Challenger class only, this time). The widest car (at 2.05 m) is the South African car from NWU (below), but of course that includes the outrigger wheels. The narrowest is the long narrow bullet car from Michigan. There are also short zippy little cars from Nuon, Principia, and Punch.
Update: The chart below clusters cars with similar length/width combinations. NWU is a visible outlier. Below NWU, we have big cars (ITU, MDH, Adelaide, Aaachen, JU – over 1.6 m wide and at least 4 m long), short catamarans (Nuon, Principia, Punch – 1.55 to 1.6 m wide and at most 3.5 m long), narrow catamarans (Nagoya, Stanford, Twente, WSU – 1.38 to 1.5 m wide and at least 4 m long), and monohulls (Tokai, Kogakuin, Michigan – at most 1.2 m wide and over 4.9 m long):
Update: Unfortunately, the two charts above reflect incorrect information from the Stanford team. The Stanford car is actually substantially wider.