This updated table shows the 35 (out of 42) cars in the World Solar Challenge which have been spotted on the track or on the road as at 20:40 on Wed, Oct 4 (Darwin time). There are links to photos and to team social media. The third column of the table shows the car class (or, for Cruisers, the number of seats). For more detailed information about the teams, see my annotated teams list.
The infographic above (click to zoom) shows the reported length and width of eight World Solar Challenge cars. The widest car (at 1.8 m) is that of the Swedish MDH Solar Team (although this car has large bites taken out of each side). The two family Cruisers from Eindhoven and Lodz (dashed lines) are also quite wide, and take full advantage of the maximum allowed length of 5 m.
The Belgian Punch Powertrain Solar Team has produced a very short zippy Challenger class car (illustrated), and Nuon’s car (not shown) seems of a similar size. In contrast, Michigan has a long narrow bullet car, powered by GaAs solar cells. Twente, using Si cells, has a substantially longer car than Punch, but a narrower one. It will be very interesting to see how these differences play out in the race, come October.
The open road is calling teams for the 2017 World Solar Challenge, and JU Solar Team (battery box ready for shipping), Lodz Solar Team (battery box), Nuon Solar Team (world record attempt), Solar Team BE (unveiling Punch 2), and Singapore (dashboard design) are hearing that call.
Below, once again, are the 12 solar car teams that will be competing in the European Solar Challenge this year, with revised links to their websites and social media. The ESC will be held at Circuit Zolder in Belgium from September 23 to 25 this year. It will be a 24 hour endurance track race, competing against a (non-solar) Tesla Model S (however, teams may charge their car from mains power up to two times, if they stop for an hour to do so). About half the points for the ESC will come from the number of laps of the track completed. Other points will come from the fastest lap time, a timed chicane challenge on the 23rd, and a presentation about the car. Follow the event on Facebook and Twitter.
The 24 hour track race starts at 13:00 on the 24th, and sunset will be at 19:32 that evening. The sun will rise again at 07:30 the next morning, and the race will continue until 13:00 on the 25th. Long-range weather forecasting suggested that the weather might be cloudy that weekend, but a more up-to-date forecast suggests sun (see diagram below). See also this nearby weathercam (about 8.5 km away, and facing towards the racetrack).
This team came 3rd in the Cruiser class at WSC 2015. Bochum are fielding three teams at ESC (racing the Solarworld GT, which drove around the world in 2011/12; the PowerCore SunCruiser from WSC 2013; and the beautiful ThyssenKrupp SunRiser from WSC 2015).
This team came 22nd in the Challenger class at WSC 2015. Their car has an interesting teardrop design.
This team came 25th in the Challenger class at WSC 2015.
This is a new team. They have posted a nice team overview video.
This appears to be a relatively new team. Read more about them here. Their car is called Archimede in honour of the famous mathematician of that name, who was a native of Syracuse, the team’s home town.
This team came 17th in the Challenger class at WSC 2013. They will be racing a rebuilt version of one of their old Challenger class cars, not the more recent Cruiser shown below.
This team came 10th in the Challenger class at WSC 2013, and 10th in the 2015 Abu Dhabi Solar Challenge. They came 2nd in the Evolución class at the 2016 Carrera Solar Atacama.
This team came 3rd in the 2015 Abu Dhabi Solar Challenge, and 5th in the Challenger class at WSC 2015. They will be racing Indupol One, their entry from WSC 2013.
This team came 5th in the Challenger class at WSC 2013, and 11th in the 2015 Abu Dhabi Solar Challenge. They also participated in this year’s American Solar Challenge. They will be racing their SER-1 car, which was their entry in the 2011 WSC.
This team came 2nd in the Challenger class at WSC 2015. Their Red One is the fastest entry in terms of raw speed. Whether that is enough to win the challenge remains to be seen.
Here is the scoring matrix for the event:
|Chicane||Fastest Lap||24-hour Race||Presentation|
This post last updated 11:29 on 23 September 2016 AEST
Nuon Solar Team (Netherlands)
Nuon won the 2014 Sasol Solar Challenge and the 2015 World Solar Challenge. They are the clear favourites for this year’s event.
It seems that Tokai will be back in South Africa this year, to challenge Nuon for first place.
North-West University (South Africa)
NWU came 11th in the the 2015 World Solar Challenge, ahead of South African rivals UKZN. They should do well on home turf this year.
Lodz Solar Team (Poland)
The team from Lodz will, I understand, be taking their lovely Eagle One cruiser to South Africa this year.
This seems to be a new team, who are building an old-school symmetrical 4-wheel car.
Anadolu Solar Team (Turkey)
Anadolu were in the top 20 at WSC15. If I understand their (Tukish) web page correctly, they are off to South Africa as well.
Not competing this year are UKZN.
Update: Google is reporting the Sasol Solar Challenge website as potentially hacked (and a quick glance at the page HTML makes it clear why), so exercise more than usual caution. Trend Micro, scanurl.net, and urlvoid.com report no major concerns, but the website is of limited value anyway, being mostly about the 2014 race.