2019 World Solar Challenge update #6


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

Here is a further update on the 49 teams (29 Challengers, 20 Cruisers, and no Adventure cars) from 23 countries aiming for the 2019 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge in Australia this coming October. Many teams are busy with construction, and below is my best understanding of the current team status, updated to match the official list of teams. Teams are sorted in team number order.

Recent BWSC news is that Bochum and Minnesota will be racing existing cars (thyssenkrupp SunRiser and Eos II). We have also seen new car reveals from HUST (pic) and Top Dutch (video). Promised new car reveals include Twente21 June, Blue Sky24 June, Lightyear One25 June, Kogakuin27 June, MDH29 June, Tehran2 July, Agoria3 July, Eindhoven4 July, HK IVE6 July, Michigan19 July, Aachen22 July, and JU30 August.

Meanwhile, 24 teams – Kentucky, Florida, CalSol (1st in 2017), PrISUm, Northwestern, Mich St, Illinois St, Illini, Waterloo, UBC, Principia, Missouri S&T, Ga Tech, Esteban (3rd in 2017), SIUE, Calgary, Rutgers, NJIT, UVA, NCSU, Purdue, Bridger, W Mich, and UPRM, including 1 WSC team – are preparing to attend FSGP 2019 in America this July.

US  Looks on track  University of Michigan 

Challenger (new car) – they were asking for name suggestions for the new car. They will reveal their car on 19 July.

Michigan BWSC 2017 aftermovie (they came 2nd in the Challenger class)

NL  Looks on track  Vattenfall Solar Team (Delft) 

Challenger (new car: Nuna X) – these are the champions formerly known as Nuon. See their 2017 aftermovie. They have named Tom Salden, Max van der Waals, and Maxime Croft as the new drivers. There has been no word on a car reveal.

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.

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

SG  Looks on track  Singapore Polytechnic 

Cruiser (new car: SunSPEC 6) – they have new motors and new doors. There has been no word on a car reveal.

NL  Looks on track  Top Dutch Solar Racing 

Challenger (new team) – their car is a GaAs bullet car resembling Michigan’s 2017 Novum. It looks so good that at this stage I’m calling them “best new team.” There are Dutch media reports about their plans. They revealed their car on 12 June (video).

AU  Looks on track  Adelaide University 

Challenger (Lumen II) – they have been doing a lot of testing.

BE  Looks on track  Agoria Solar Team (KU Leuven) 

Challenger (new car: BluePoint) – they have some (top secret) production moulds and are now sponsored by Agoria. They held a mock race with the old car. They will reveal their car on 3 July.

IT  Looks on track  Onda Solare 

Cruiser (Emilia 4) – they won the American Solar Challenge (Cruiser class) last year, and they have written up their design process here.

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.

11  DE  Looks on track  Bochum University of Applied Sciences 

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. As in previous years, they participated in the Albi Eco Race.


photo: Anthony Dekker

12  GB  Looks on track  Cambridge University 

Cruiser (new car: Helia) – they are busy with fabrication. There has been no word on a car reveal.

14  AU  Looks on track  Flinders University 

Cruiser (Investigator Mk III) – they are planning to improve aerodynamics, reduce weight, and make some other changes.

15  AU  Looks on track  Western Sydney Solar Team 

Challenger (new car: Unlimited 3) – they won the American Solar Challenge last year (with their Challenger car Unlimited 2.0). There has been no word on a car reveal.

16  US  Looks on track  Stanford Solar Car Project 

Challenger (new car) – they have revealed their shell, which is a unique asymmetric bullet car.

18  MY  Looks on track  EcoPhoton / UiTM 

Challenger (new car: Tigris) – see their first and second vlogs (in Bahasa Malaysia). There has been no word on a car reveal.

20  GB  Looks on track  Durham University 

Challenger (new car: Ortus) – they have been doing outreach, as well as fabrication. There has been no word on a car reveal.

21  NL  Looks on track  Solar Team Twente 

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. They have revealed their design, which is a GaAs catamaran (see the animation here). They will run a MOOC explaining the design of their 2015 car, and will reveal their 2019 car on (of course!) 21 June.

22  SE  Looks on track  MDH Solar Team 

Challenger (Viking) – they have been doing some testing. They will reveal their car on 29 June.

23  SE  Hmmm  Halmstad University Solar Team 

Challenger (new team with car: HeartTwo) – 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  Looks on track  Hong Kong Institute of Vocational Education 

Cruiser (Sophie 6s) – they have been working on the car body. They will reveal their car on 6 July.

30  AU  Looks on track  Team Arrow 

Cruiser (ArrowSTF) – they have done a six-month-out update video.

Team Arrow 6 Months to #BWSC19 Update

31  CH  Looks on track  Solar Energy Racers 

Challenger (SER-3) – they raced this car in South Africa. They have packed a crate for Australia.

37  JP  Hmmm  Goko High School

Challenger (new car: Musoushin) – this high-school team always does very well. There has been no word on a car reveal.

39  SA  Hmmm  Estidamah 

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

40  NL  Looks on track  Solar Team Eindhoven 

Cruiser (new car: Stella ?) – they have turned a shipping container into an oven for production and plan to reveal their car on July 4. The bottom shell just came out.

41  AU  Hmmm  Australian National University 

Challenger (new car: MTAA Gnowee) – the car is named after a woman in Aboriginal myth who carries the sun. They are working on their mould. There has been no word on a car reveal.

42  AU  Looks on track  TAFE SA 

Cruiser (SAV) – this time they will tow the trailer that belongs with the car.

43  GB  Looks on track  Ardingly College 

Cruiser (Ardingly Solar Car) – this high-school team came 6th in the iESC Cruiser class, but have upgraded the car since then. They participated in the Albi Eco Race.

44  US  Looks on track  Appalachian State University (Sunergy) 

Cruiser (ROSE) – as with some European teams, they have been testing at an airport. They are also upgrading the car.

45  PL  Looks on track  Lodz Solar Team 

Cruiser (Eagle Two) – they have produced a solar baby, which is a prize that lasts.

46  SE  Looks on track  JU Solar Team 

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.

47  JP  Looks on track  Nagoya Institute of Technology 

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


public domain photo

49  TH  Hmmm  Siam Technical College 

Cruiser (new car: STC-3) – there have been no reports from them on social media. There has been no word on a car reveal.

Siam Technical College BWSC 2017 aftermovie (they raced in the Cruiser class)

51  SE  Looks on track  Chalmers Solar Team 

Challenger (new team with car: Alfrödull) – their final render resembles the car of the South African NWU team. They have a rolling chassis, and hope to ship the car in early June.

55  MA  Hmmm  Mines Rabat Solar Team 

Challenger (new car: Eleadora 2) – their new catamaran will look like this. They have made a mould for their body, but the shipping date must be approaching fast.

63  SA  Hmmm  Alfaisal Solar Car Team 

Challenger (new car: Areej 1) – they had hoped to race at ASC 2018, but did not make it. There has been no word on a car reveal, but progress seems good, and they have both a rolling chassis and a bottom shell. 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.

66  US  Looks on track  Berkeley (CalSol) 

Cruiser (new car: Tachyon) – they have a shell. They will also attend FSGP 2019. There has been no word on a car reveal.

67  US  Looks like they might not make WSC  Golden State (UCLA / SMC) 

Cruiser (new team with car: The Golden Bear) – they have removed references to attending the WSC from their website. There has been no word on a car reveal.

70  DE  Looks on track  Sonnenwagen Aachen 

Challenger (new car: Covestro Sonnenwagen) – they have a car-racing game app starring their car. They will reveal their car on 22 July.

75  AU  Looks on track  University of New South Wales / Sunswift 

Cruiser (Violet) – they have been testing their car on the track.

77  CA  Looks on track  University of Toronto (Blue Sky) 

Challenger (new car: Viridian) – they plan to unveil the new car on 24 June.

80  CN  Hmmm  Beijing Institute of Technology

Cruiser (new car: Sun Shuttle III). There has been no word on a car reveal.


photo: Anthony Dekker

82  KR  Looks on track  Kookmin University Solar Team 

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

KUST BWSC 2017 aftermovie (they raced in the Challenger class)

84  TR  Hmmm  Dokuz Eylül University (Solaris) 

Challenger (new car: S10) – they expect the new car to be 44% more efficient than the 2015 model. There has been no word on a car reveal.


public domain photo

86  IN  Hmmm  Dyuti

Cruiser (new team with car: WattSun). There has been no word on a car reveal.


public domain photo

88  JP  Looks on track  Kogakuin University 

Challenger (new car) – they have announced their participation and held a “Solar Team Welcome Party” for new members. They will reveal their car on 27 June.

92  CA  Looks on track  ETS Quebec (Eclipse) 

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. Planned improvements are summarised in their winter newsletter.

94  US  Looks on track  University of Minnesota Solar Vehicle Project 

Cruiser (Eos II) – they are building a new car, but will race their existing one for BWSC 19.

98  AU  Hmmm  ATN Solar Car Team 

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 20:53 on 17 June 2019 AEST. Thanks to Nigel for several news items.


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ASC 38: Road Race Day 8


Start, drive, cross the line, recharge (picture credits: 1, 2, 3, 4)

Day 8 of the American Solar Challenge was another sunny day. The road to Burns included several steep hills, climbing out of the Snake River Plain, and teams that did not negotiate them yesterday had to do so today. Appalachian State were the first Cruiser to arrive in Burns. Onda Solare are the only untrailered Cruiser, however (and still with 4 people and no external recharging). The chart below summarises the race so far (penalty minutes are added at the right of the chart).

I am awarding my “Cruiser Pioneer” gem to the University of Minnesota Solar Vehicle Project, who are America’s Cruiser (MOV) class pioneers. They were the only Cruiser at ASC 2016. They came 4th in the WSC 2013 Cruiser class, and 5th in the WSC 2015 Cruiser class. They won the FSGP MOV class this year by a convincing margin, and were clear leaders for the ASC road race until they ran into trouble 40 miles into stage 4 (with an electrical fault). Thank you, UMNSVP, for showing everybody else the way!


ASC 34: The Big Climb


The mountains, Day 5 (picture credits: 1, 2)

Well, we had the “Big Climb” in the American Solar Challenge. The mountains were beautiful, but timewise it was an anticlimax. Michigan and ETS / Eclipse slowed down a little, but some other cars actually sped up! The battles for 1st and 3rd are still quite close, as the chart for Farson shows (click to zoom). The Cruisers seem to be trying to pick up the pace a little.

On an unrelated matter, although the American Solar Challenge is far from over, I’m getting a head start on my personal Gem Awards for the race. The “Solar Car Family Gem” goes to Team 55 (Poly Montreal / Esteban) for the multiple mentions in social media of their helpfulness.

Oh, and the tracker seems to be working again. Here (unchecked and unedited) are night-time positions:


ASC 32: Road Race Day 4 (part 1)

Today the solar cars in the American Solar Challenge travelled to Lander, Wyoming (Michigan and Western Sydney clocked in yesterday already). As the map above shows, Lander is 48% of the way through the race (by distance) or 44% (by days). This is a good opportunity to see how the teams are going.


Tuesday morning, Day 4 (picture credits: 1, 2 3 4)

For the Cruiser (MOV) class, the “cactus” diagram below tells the story for Stage 1 (first two days). For each car, the first coloured bar shows the number of person-kilometres (distance driven times the average number of people in the car). All cars ran full. The second coloured bar shows the external energy input, which is the number of charges (including the pre-race charge) multiplied by the battery capacity. This bar points downward, because large values are bad. The third coloured bar, which is the final score, is the first bar divided by the second (all bars are scaled so that the highest value is 100%). Congratulations again, Minnesota!

For the race as a whole, Cruiser (MOV) scoring also includes speed and practicality components.


ASC 29: Road Race Day 2 Wrap


picture credits: 1, 2

This post has been updated TWICE.

Sunday 15 July (Nebraska time) in the American Solar Challenge road race saw clouds and rain, and several cars were forced to trailer. In the Challenger (SOV) class, Western Sydney crossed the finish line just before Michigan (above). Below (in the colours of an Oregon Trail campfire) are the speeds for Stage 1, based on official timings. Western Sydney were declared winners of this first stage. The two cars from Montreal are also neck-and-neck, with Eclipse (101) just ahead of Esteban (55) after penalties.

In the Cruiser (MOV) class, Minnesota and Onda Solare are the two cars left standing. Both of these cars are running about 2 hours behind the 53.5 km/h required speed, and so both are attracting slowness penalties (as per revised regulation 13.3.A). Both cars seem to have run fully loaded (2 people for Minnesota, 4 for Onda), so scoring for the Cruisers reflects battery size and the number of recharges they have done from the grid (currently zero for both, apparently). However, on a pure seats-to-kWh ratio, Minnesota (2 / 6.75) outperforms Onda (4 / 16.8), and this is why Minnesota were declared Cruiser winners of this first stage.


picture credits: 1, 2

Seven days of racing to go! … With only 12 cars, unfortunately, since Western Michigan and SIUE were unable to meet their provisional qualification requirements. However, Illini, Georgia Tech, Waterloo, and AppState are still in the race, though trailered, with partial distance credit.


ASC 24: Track Race Wrap


CalSol, Waterloo, MIT, and SIUE on the track (picture credit)

Well, the Formula Sun Grand Prix or FSGP (the 3-day track race component of ASC) is over. I have updated my race information page and teams list with news and some pictures. To summarise the event, the chart below (in the colours of a Nebraska sunset) shows the total laps (after penalties) for each car (as with all images on this page, click to zoom). Teams which qualified for the road race are marked (with “P” indicating provisional qualification). The Russian team (89) had a rather slow car (not to mention that the motor eventually died), but they also received a large penalty (possibly for battery replacement?).

Some teams treated FSGP purely as a qualifier, while others went out hard to win it. Congratulations to Poly Montreal / Esteban (55) for being the winner, to Berkeley / CalSol (6) for coming second, and to Western Sydney University (15) for coming third! These will all be strong contenders in the road race (along with Michigan, who seem to have taken things fairly easy on the track). For the Cruiser (MOV) class, things are a little more complex, and are discussed later in this post.


FSGP 1st, 2nd, and 3rd (picture credit)

This chart shows the fastest lap speeds for each team. Western Sydney University (15) ran the fastest lap, at 80.5 km/h (50.0 mph):

And here is a revised (and, I think, final) teams poster, with the teams qualified for the road race marked in green:

For the Cruiser (MOV) class, the “cactus” diagram below tells the story. For each car, the first coloured bar shows the number of person-kilometres (basically the number of laps times the average number of people in the car). Cars mostly ran full (although PrISUm ran with only 2 people). Onda Solare (559) had less than 4 people in the car for a few laps (they also had technical problems, which is why they scored no laps on Day 3). As the first chart showed, Minnesota clocked up almost as many laps as the top 3 Challengers, which is why it has the tallest bar here.

For each car, the second coloured bar shows the external energy input, which is the number of charges (including the pre-race charge) multiplied by the battery capacity. This bar points downward, because large values are bad. And in the brilliant sunshine of Hastings, the Minnesota car refused recharge opportunities, drinking in the sun like the Challenger (SOV) cars. The third coloured bar, which is the final score, is the first bar divided by the second (all bars are scaled so that the highest value is 100%). The high lap count and low external energy input put Minnesota way ahead in the final scoring. Ultimately, this was due to the beautiful and efficient aerodynamics of their car. Third place was decided on AppState’s battery (11.025 kWh, compared to 15.876 for Waterloo).


Minnesota drinking in the sun (picture credit)

The road race for the Cruiser (MOV) class will be interesting. We will, I think, see more strategic refusal to recharge from the grid (which we have not seen at WSC), and we might see Minnesota, with its small (6.75 kWh) battery, struggle a little in the mountains. Anything can still happen!

Meanwhile, one more picture to say farewell to Hastings, Nebraska:


Illini, Western Michigan, and Esteban on the track (picture credit)


ASC 22: Crush Appendages

In 2016, when Michigan entered their WSC 2015 car in ASC 2016, they were forced to invent the “crush appendage” (above) to satisfy ASC crush zone requirements. At the time, I merely thought “that’s interesting.” Fast forward to 2018, however, and crush appendages are everywhere!

On Facebook, I promised people an “ugliest appendage” award. An honourable mention goes to Onda Solare (team 559), for having one on every door, but the winner has to be Minnesota. Those appendages really ruin the aesthetics of a beautiful Cruiser!