World Solar Challenge car dimensions

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).


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Another quick solar racing update


Four recently revealed vehicles: Top Dutch, Twente, Blue Sky (Toronto), and Kogakuin

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).


The new car from Belgian team Agoria (photo credit)

Promised new car reveals include Eindhoven4 July, HK IVE6 July, NIT6 July, Vattenfall16 July, Michigan19 July, Aachen22 July, and JU30 August. I will continue updating my list of teams as news and pictures come in.


Esteban were first to get all greens in scrutineering for FSGP 2019

Meanwhile, 18 teams – Kentucky, Florida, CalSol (1st in 2017), Northwestern, Mich St, Illinois St, Illini, Waterloo, Principia, Ga Tech, Esteban (3rd in 2017), SIUE, Calgary, Rutgers, NJIT, NCSU, W Mich, and UPRM – are at FSGP 2019 right now. Esteban were first to get all greens!


2019 World Solar Challenge teams list


Nine fantastic WSC cars from Delft: 2001–2017 (photos: Vattenfall Solar Team)

Here is a further update on the 47 teams (29 Challengers, 18 Cruisers, and no Adventure cars) from 23 countries aiming for the 2019 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge in Australia this coming October. Below is my best understanding of the current team status, updated to match the official list of teams (sadly, Appalachian State University have dropped out, as have Golden State). Teams are sorted in team number order.

There is an ASC-style documentation progress chart this year. We have seen car reveals from Chalmers, Eclipse (pic), HUST (pic), Top Dutch (video), Twente (video), Blue Sky (video), Kogakuin (video), MDH (pic), CalSol, Agoria (video), Eindhoven (video), HK IVE (pic), NITech (pic), SER (pic), Vattenfall (video), Michigan (video), Minnesota (video), Solaris (pic), Stanford (pic), Aachen (video), Singapore (pic), Onda (video), WSU (pic), STC (video), Durham (pic), KUST, and Cambridge (pic).

Promised new car reveals include EcoPhoton23 August and JU30 August. There has been no word on a reveal from 8 teams (Antakari, Tokai, ANU, Mines Rabat, Beijing, Dyuti, Estidamah, and ATN). Apart from Tokai, they are all probably in some degree of trouble.

US    University of Michigan 

Monohull GaAs challenger (new car: Electrum) – their car name is the name of a gold/silver alloy famous in antiquity. They revealed their car on 19 July (video).

Previously, Michigan came 9th at WSC 13; came 4th at WSC 15; came 2nd at WSC 17; won ASC 14; won ASC 16; came 2nd at ASC 18; and won Abu Dhabi 15. Their team number (2) is a long-standing tradition.

NL    Vattenfall Solar Team (Delft) 

Asymmetric GaAs challenger (new car: Nuna X) – these are the champions formerly known as Nuon. See their 2017 aftermovie. The new car weighs just 135 kg (298 lbs) and has a unique asymmetrical rear (designed to take advantage of October winds coming primarily from the east). They revealed their car on 16 July (video).

Previously, Vattenfall won WSC 13; won WSC 15; won WSC 17; won SASOL 14; won SASOL 16; and won SASOL 18. Their team number (3) is a long-standing tradition.

CL  Hmmm  Antakari Solar Team 

Challenger (new car: Intikallpa V) – no news on the new design as yet. There has been no word on a car reveal.

Previously, Antakari participated in the WSC 13 Adventure class and came 10th at WSC 17.

Antakari BWSC 2013 aftermovie (they participated in the Adventure class)

SG    Singapore Polytechnic 

Two-seat cruiser (SunSPEC 6) – their 2019 car is a modified version of their 2017 car SunSPEC 5. They revealed their car on 30 July (pic).

Previously, Singapore came 16th at WSC 13; participated in the WSC 15 Cruiser class; and participated in the WSC 17 Cruiser class.

NL    Top Dutch Solar Racing 

Monohull single junction GaAs challenger (new team with car: Green Lightning) – their car is a bullet car resembling Michigan’s 2017 Novum. It looks so good that at this stage I’m calling them “best new team.” Their car has four-wheel steering at low speed and two-wheel steering at high speed. There are Dutch media reports about their plans, and they are vlogging weekly (in Dutch, but they have started adding English subtitles). They revealed their car on 12 June (video).

AU    Adelaide University 

Asymmetric challenger (Lumen II Mk II) – they have been doing a lot of testing.

Previously, Adelaide came 21st at WSC 15 and participated at WSC 17.

BE    Agoria Solar Team (KU Leuven) 

Asymmetric GaAs challenger (new car: BluePoint) – they are now sponsored by Agoria. They held a mock race with the old car. Their new car looks very similar. They revealed their car on 3 July (video).

Previously, Agoria came 6th at WSC 13; came 5th at WSC 15; came 3rd at WSC 17; came 3rd at Abu Dhabi 15; came 2nd at iESC 16; and came 6th at iESC 18. Their team number (8) is a long-standing tradition.

IT    Onda Solare 

Four-seat cruiser (Emilia 4 LT) – they won the American Solar Challenge (Cruiser class) last year, and they have written up their design process here, but they have since made substantial improvements to the vehicle, including to the aerodynamics, suspension, battery, and solar panels. There is also an unusual open tail. They revealed their car on 31 July (video).

Previously, Onda came 10th at WSC 13; won the ASC 18 Cruiser class; came 10th at Abu Dhabi 15; and came 6th at iESC 16. Their team number (9) is taken from the SS 9, the highway through Bologna, which was once the Roman Via Aemilia (hence also the name of their vehicle).

10  JP  Looks on track  Tokai University 

Challenger (new car: Tokai Challenger) – in January they hosted some visitors from Lodz. There has been no word on a car reveal.

Previously, Tokai came 2nd at WSC 13; came 3rd at WSC 15; came 4th at WSC 17; came 7th at Abu Dhabi 15; came 2nd at SASOL 16; and came 2nd at SASOL 18.

11  DE    Bochum University of Applied Sciences 

Two-seat cruiser (thyssenkrupp SunRiser) – Bochum is not building a new WSC car, but are improving their sexy 2-seater SunRiser, which came 3rd in 2015. They also have a solar buggy team.

Previously, Bochum came 2nd in the WSC 13 Cruiser class; came 3rd in the WSC 15 Cruiser class; came 2nd in the WSC 17 Cruiser class; came 3rd, 4th, and 5th at iESC 16; came 2nd, 3rd, and 5th in the iESC 18 Cruiser class; came 1st and 7th at Albi Eco 18; and came 1st and 2nd at Albi Eco 19.


photo: Anthony Dekker

12  GB    Cambridge University 

Four-seat cruiser (new car: Helia) – they have had motor problems. They revealed their car on 15 August (pic).

Previously, Cambridge came 22nd at WSC 15 and came 10th at iESC 16.


photo: Nigel

14  AU    Flinders University 

Three-seat cruiser (Investigator Mk 3) – they are planning to improve aerodynamics, reduce weight, and make some other changes.

Previously, Flinders participated in the WSC 17 Cruiser class.

15  AU    Western Sydney Solar Team 

Monohull GaAs challenger (new car: Unlimited 3.0) – they won the American Solar Challenge last year (with their car Unlimited 2.0), but have built a hot new “bullet car” this year. They revealed their car on 7 August (pic).

Previously, WSU came 11th at WSC 13; came 10th at WSC 15; came 6th at WSC 17; and won ASC 18.


photo: Anthony Dekker

16  US    Stanford Solar Car Project 

Monohull challenger (new car: Black Mamba) – they first showed us their shell, which is a unique asymmetric bullet car. They revealed their car on 21 July (pic).

Previously, Stanford came 4th at WSC 13; came 6th at WSC 15; and came 9th at WSC 17.

18  MY  Hmmm  EcoPhoton (UiTM) 

Challenger (new car: Tigris) – see their first and second vlogs (in Bahasa Malaysia). They will reveal their car on 23 August.

Previously, EcoPhoton came 26th at WSC 15 and participated at WSC 17.

20  GB    Durham University 

Asymmetric challenger (new car: Ortus) – they report 24% lower drag and 28% lower weight than their previous car. They revealed their car on 12 August (pic).

Previously, Durham came 27th at WSC 15 and participated at WSC 17.

21  NL    Solar Team Twente 

Asymmetric GaAs challenger (new car: RED E) – they are already producing regular vlogs (in Dutch), and have also produced an (English) day-in-the-life blog post. Their design is an incredibly tiny GaAs catamaran with shingled solar cells. They developed a MOOC explaining the design of their 2015 car, and there is an online game of their new car. They revealed their car on 21 June (video).

Previously, Twente came 3rd at WSC 13; came 2nd at WSC 15; came 5th at WSC 17; won iESC 16; and came 1st and 2nd at iESC 18. Their team number (21) is a pun and a wish for success in the race (“Twente-One”).

22  SE    MDH Solar Team 

Classic symmetric challenger (Viking) – this year’s car is an improved version of their 2017 car, with better aerodynamics and electronics. In particular, the two “bites” on the side have been filled in. They revealed their car on 29 June (pic).

Previously, MDH participated at WSC 17.

23  SE    Halmstad University Solar Team 

Outrigger challenger (new team with car: Heart Three) – their render showed a bullet car, much like Michigan’s 2017 entry, although the chassis suggests outriggers of some kind (with the associated drag issues). They revealed their car on 11 June (pic), but without any really good pictures of the completed vehicle.

25  HK    Hong Kong Institute of Vocational Education 

Two-seat cruiser (Sophie 6s) – their car is a modification of Sophie 6 from 2017. They revealed their car on 6 July (pic).

Previously, HK IVE participated in the WSC 13 Adventure class; participated in the WSC 15 Cruiser class; and participated in the WSC 17 Cruiser class.

30  AU    Team Arrow 

Two-seat cruiser (ArrowSTF) – they made a six-month-out update video.

Previously, Arrow came 7th at WSC 13; came 8th at WSC 15; came 3rd in the WSC 17 Cruiser class; came 5th at Abu Dhabi 15; and came 8th at iESC 18. Their team number (30) is the average age of people on the original team.

31  CH    Solar Energy Racers 

Asymmetric challenger (SER-3) – they raced this car in South Africa, but have made some improvements. They revealed the car on 10 July, prior to sending it to Australia by sea.

Previously, SER came 5th at WSC 13; came 2nd at ASC 16; came 11th at Abu Dhabi 15; came 3rd at SASOL 18; and came 8th at iESC 16.

35  US    University of Minnesota Solar Vehicle Project 

Two-seat cruiser (Eos II) – they are building a new car, but will race an upgraded version of their existing one for BWSC 19 (revealing the upgrade on 19 July).

Previously, Minnesota came 4th in the WSC 13 Cruiser class; came 5th in the WSC 15 Cruiser class; participated in the WSC 17 Cruiser class; came 2nd at ASC 14; came equal 10th at ASC 16; and came equal 2nd in the ASC 18 Cruiser class. Their team number (35) is derived from the Interstate 35 highway.

37  JP    Goko High School

Asymmetric challenger (Musoushin) – this high-school team always does very well.

Previously, Goko came 5th in the WSC 13 Cruiser class; came 14th at WSC 15; and participated at WSC 17.

40  NL    Solar Team Eindhoven 

Four-seat cruiser (new car: Stella Era) – their new car has many cool features and a range of 1200 km. They revealed their car on 4 July (video).

Previously, Eindhoven won the WSC 13 Cruiser class; won the WSC 15 Cruiser class; won the WSC 17 Cruiser class; and came 7th in the iESC 18 Cruiser class. Their team number (40) is the Eindhoven telephone area code.

41  AU    Australian National University 

Asymmetric challenger (new car: MTAA Super Charge 2) – they have a shell, produced by Sydney Composites. There has been no word on a car reveal.

Previously, ANU participated at WSC 17.

42  AU    TAFE SA 

Two-seat cruiser (SAV) – this time they will tow the trailer that belongs with the car.

Previously, TAFE SA came 7th in the WSC 13 Cruiser class; participated in the WSC 15 Adventure class; and participated in the WSC 17 Cruiser class.

43  GB    Ardingly College 

Two-seat cruiser (Ardingly Solar Car) – this high-school team came 6th in the iESC Cruiser class, but have upgraded the car since then.

Previously, Ardingly participated in the WSC 15 Cruiser class; came 6th in the iESC 18 Cruiser class; and participated at Albi Eco 19.

45  PL    Lodz Solar Team 

Four-seat 60-kWh cruiser (Eagle Two) – they have upgraded and repainted their car, and improved the interior.

Previously, Lodz participated in the WSC 15 Cruiser class; participated in the WSC 17 Cruiser class; came 5th at SASOL 16; and won the iESC 18 Cruiser class. Their team number (45) is a tradition since 2015.

46  SE    JU Solar Team 

Asymmetric challenger (new car: Axelent) – they have a rolling test chassis, a body, and a battery. The body design seems long and thin. They will reveal their car on 30 August.

Previously, JU came 20th at WSC 13; came 15th at WSC 15; and came 8th at WSC 17. Their team number (46) is the Swedish national telephone prefix.

47  JP    Nagoya Institute of Technology 

Monohull challenger (new car: Horizon Ace) – their car resembles Tokyo’s 2017 vehicle. They revealed their car on 6 July (pic).

Previously, NITech came 16th at WSC 15 and came 12th at WSC 17.

49  TH    Siam Technical College 

Two-seat cruiser (new car: STC-3) – they have a unique passenger-behind-driver Cruiser design. They revealed their car on 8 August (video).

Previously, STC came 28th at WSC 15 and participated in the WSC 17 Cruiser class.

51  SE    Chalmers Solar Team 

Outrigger challenger (new team with car: Alfrödull) – their final render resembles the car of the South African NWU team. They have a rolling chassis, which they revealed in May. Their shipping date was in July. See their promo video here.

55  MA  Hmmm  Mines Rabat Solar Team 

Asymmetric challenger (new car: Eleadora 2) – they have a shell, but the shipping date must be approaching fast.

63  SA    Alfaisal Solar Car Team 

Classic symmetric challenger (new car: Areej 1) – they had hoped to race at ASC 2018, but did not make it. They showed their rolling chassis but did not formally reveal the completed car. The car name is a pun: AREG/Areej is an acronym for Alfaisal Renewable Energy Group but also means “the scent of a flowery garden” in Arabic. Amjad Alamri appears to be one of the drivers.

66  US    Berkeley (CalSol) 

Four-seat 16-kWh cruiser (new car: Tachyon) – they revealed their new car at FSGP. Their average speed at FSGP was 46.3 km/h, compared to 52.8 km/h for Esteban (the leading single-occupant vehicle). This raises some doubts as to whether they can make the WSC on-road target speed of around 75 km/h.

Previously, CalSol came 15th at FSGP 14; came 7th at FSGP 15; came 9th at ASC 16; won FSGP 17; came 6th at ASC 18; and came 2nd in the FSGP 19 Cruiser class.

70  DE    Sonnenwagen Aachen 

Monohull GaAs challenger (new car: Covestro Sonnenwagen) – they have a car-racing game app starring their car. They revealed their car on 22 July (video).

Previously, Aachen participated at WSC 17 and came 3rd at iESC 18. Their team number (70) is the number they raced with in 2017.

75  AU    University of New South Wales (Sunswift) 

Four-seat 20-kWh cruiser (Violet) – they have been testing their car on the track.

Previously, Sunswift came 3rd in the WSC 13 Cruiser class; came 4th in the WSC 15 Cruiser class; and participated in the WSC 17 Cruiser class.

77  CA    University of Toronto (Blue Sky) 

Monohull challenger (new car: Viridian) – they have a great-looking bullet car this year. They revealed their car on 24 June (video).

Previously, Blue Sky came 8th at WSC 13; came 12th at WSC 15; came 11th at WSC 17; and came 3rd at ASC 16.

80  CN  Hmmm  Beijing Institute of Technology

Four-seat cruiser (new car: Sun Shuttle III). There has been no word on a car reveal.

Previously, Beijing came 19th at WSC 13 and came 24th at WSC 15.

82  KR    Kookmin University Solar Team 

Asymmetric challenger (new car: Man-Se) – they “revealed” their car in a private ceremony on 14 August. Pictures are in circulation on Facebook, but not publicly.

Previously, KUST came 15th at WSC 13; came 20th at WSC 15; and participated at WSC 17. Their team number (82) is the Korean national telephone prefix.

84  TR    Dokuz Eylül University (Solaris) 

Asymmetric challenger (new car: S10) – they expect the new car to be 44% more efficient than the 2015 model. They revealed their car on 19 July (pic).

Previously, Solaris participated in the WSC 13 Adventure class; came 25th at WSC 15; came 9th at iESC 16; and came 2nd at Albi Eco 18.

86  IN  Looks like they might not make WSC  Sphuran Industries Private Limited (Dyuti)

Four-seat cruiser (new team with car: WattSun) – I am not sure how much progress, if any, the company has made on a car (this small company was only registered in May, and appears to occupy co-working space above a shopping mall). There has been no word on a car reveal.

88  JP    Kogakuin University 

Monohull GaAs challenger (new car: Eagle) – once again they have a sleek and elegantly unique design. There is a good discussion with interior pics here. They revealed their car on 27 June (video).

Previously, Kogakuin came 14th at WSC 13; came 2nd in the WSC 15 Cruiser class; and came 7th at WSC 17. Their team number (88) is multi-faceted (88 is a lucky number in Japanese kanji; 4 wheels looks like 88; and the team garage is in Hachioji city, with ‘hachi’ meaning ‘eight’).

89  SA  Hmmm  Estidamah 

Asymmetric challenger (new car: Sana) – this was formerly the Seraaj team. There has been no word on a car reveal.

92  CA    ETS Quebec (Eclipse) 

Asymmetric challenger (Éclipse X.I) – they came an excellent 3rd in the ASC, 102 minutes behind Western Sydney, and hope to go even faster with the new battery pack in their modified car. Their improvements are summarised in their winter newsletter. They revealed their car on 10 June (pic).

Previously, Eclipse came 18th at WSC 13; came 10th at ASC 14; came 8th at ASC 16; came 4th at FSGP 17; and came 3rd at ASC 18.

98  AU    ATN Solar Car Team 

Two-seat cruiser (new team) – their team is a mixture of lecturers and students from five universities across Australia. They have tested a model in a wind tunnel. There has been no word on a car reveal.

This page last updated 19:50 on 19 August 2019 AEST. Thanks to Nigel for several news items.


World Solar Challenge: about the Cruisers

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.

Arrival time

Friday 11:35.
Inside window? YES

Energy efficiency

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

Practicality P = 51.75
Highest practicality, P* = 84.5 (Eindhoven)
Relative practicality, P / P* = 0.6124

Total Score

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.


World Solar Challenge: dark horses

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.


World Solar Challenge: Challenger dimensions

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.


World Solar Challenge head to head: Japan

The World Solar Challenge is an exciting race to find the best solar car in the world. That makes for serious competition between countries. But there are also some interesting contests within countries. The most obvious is between Nuon (3) and Twente (21), who came first and second in the Challenger class last time.

Within Japan, Tokai University (10, Tokai Challenger, above) has a long tradition of excellence in the Challenger class, winning in 2009 and 2011, and coming at least 3rd since then (see chart at top). Their elegant new car is radically different from anything else in the competition, and looks fast.

Kogakuin University (88) raced in the Cruiser class in 2015, with an innovative design that almost won. This year, they have an equally innovative car in the Challenger class (Wing, below). Can Kogakuin take over the leading Challenger role in Japan? Can their car win against the equally streamlined Tokai vehicle? Or will Goko or Nagoya make a dramatic leap upwards from their 14th-place and 16th-place finishes in 2015? Only time will tell.