WSC: final Cruiser results

Based on the official results, the chart below (click to zoom) shows the final scores for the WSC Cruiser class. Each team has three coloured bars: first the number of person-kilometres, which should be large (black icons show occupied seats and white icons empty seats), then the energy usage, which should be small (number of charges, which is 6 in each case, times battery capacity), and finally the overall efficiency score, which should be large again (it is the ratio of those first two numbers). The rule for the efficiency score bar is: first bar divided by second bar, then scale so that the largest result is 80%. The scaled practicality scores out of 20 (grey bars) are then added. Eindhoven is the clear winner, with Bochum second.

The chart below (click to zoom) shows the raw practicality scores for all Cruisers (finishing, non-finishing, and non-starting).


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WSC: Challenger class charts

Based on data from the WSC web site, the final race chart above (click to zoom) shows Challenger-class timings (for the cars that did not trailer). It is drawn with reference to a baseline speed of 83.89 km/h. This is the speed that would complete the race (to “end of timing”) in 4 days and 5 hours. The left vertical axis shows how far behind the baseline cars are driving. Straight lines represent cars driving at a consistent speed. The right vertical axis shows arrival time at “end of timing” in Darwin time (Adelaide time is an hour later). The twists and turns of the lines here reveal many of the dramatic events of the race, such as the spate of bad weather. The chart below shows average speeds.


WSC: Challenger and Cruiser charts

Based on data from the WSC web site, the chart above (click to zoom) shows Challenger-class timings. It is drawn with reference to a baseline speed of 83.89 km/h. This is the speed that would complete the race (to “end of timing”) in 4 days and 5 hours (that’s a substantially slower baseline than I used in 2015). The left vertical axis shows how far behind the baseline cars are driving. Straight lines represent cars driving at a consistent speed. The right vertical axis shows arrival time at “end of timing” in Darwin time (Adelaide time is an hour later).

Open coloured circles show simplistically extrapolated arrival times. For example, I would expect Nuon to arrive a little after 2 pm Darwin time (3 pm Adelaide time) tomorrow. The rest of the top five should arrive later in the afternoon, or early Friday morning. All the other Challengers are potentially in trouble, but it’s impossible to say for certain.

The grey stripe on the right (11:00 to 2:00 on Friday) shows the permitted Cruiser class arrival window. Eindhoven (40) and Bochum (11) are on track to arrive inside this window. Arrow (30) and HK IVE (35) will do so if they speed up a little. Minnesota (94) and Apollo (95), travelling at 60 km/h and 58 km/h respectively, are in serious trouble, timewise.

The chart above (click to zoom) shows Cruiser scores as at Kulgera (which lets us compare apples with apples). Each team has three coloured bars: first the number of person-kilometres, which should be large (black icons show occupied seats and white icons empty seats), then the energy usage, which should be small (number of charges, which is 4, times battery capacity), and finally the overall score, which should be large again (it is the ratio of those first two numbers). The black number inside the final bar shows the ranking. All bars are scaled to a percentage of the maximum, because the exact numbers do not matter – only the relative relationships. The rule for the final score bar is: first bar divided by second bar, then scale so that the largest result is 80%. The practicality score (out of 20) will be added to that final result.


WSC: Challenger update

There’s been a bit of confusion on the WSC web site, with Stanford and Goko being taken off the Challenger list and then put back on. The race chart below (click to zoom) hopefully sheds some light on the current status. It is drawn with reference to a baseline speed of 83.89 km/h. This is the speed that would complete the race (to “end of timing”) in 4 days and 5 hours (that’s a substantially slower baseline than I used in 2015). The left vertical axis shows how far behind the baseline cars are driving. Straight lines represent cars driving at a consistent speed. The right vertical axis shows arrival time at “end of timing” in Darwin time. Notice that Nuon’s clever weather strategy has allowed them to speed up substantially.


WSC: The Cruisers

The chart below (click to zoom) shows my estimated current state of play for the WSC Cruiser class. It combines person-kilometre data from the official website for Alice Springs, with the assumption that all teams recharged last night.

Each team has three coloured bars: first the number of person-kilometres, which should be large (black icons show occupied seats and white icons empty seats), then the energy usage, which should be small (number of charges, which is 4, times battery capacity), and finally the overall score, which should be large again (it is the ratio of those first two numbers). The black number inside the final bar shows the ranking. All bars are scaled to a percentage of the maximum, because the exact numbers do not matter – only the relative relationships. The rule for the final score bar is: first bar divided by second bar, then scale so that the largest result is 80%. The practicality score (out of 20) will be added to that final result.

It can be seen that Eindhoven has a solid lead. Minnesota is in second place, but Bochum is regaining lost ground. Of course, any teams that do not make it to Adelaide by the required time are out of the race. Minnesota and Apollo might have problems there.


WSC: The Cruiser class

The chart below (click to zoom) shows the current state of play for the WSC Cruiser class, using data from the official website (although it seems to me that there are some roundoff errors in those numbers). Each team has three coloured bars: first the number of person-kilometres (black icons show occupied seats and white icons empty seats), then the energy usage (number of charges, which is 1, times battery capacity), and finally the overall score (which is the ratio of those two numbers). The black number in the final bar shows the ranking. All bars are scaled to a percentage of the maximum. It can be seen that Eindhoven has a solid lead (and they will display their own performance in detail here).


World Solar Challenge: route notes

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


Solar Team Eindhoven’s Stella starts the race in 2013 (photo: WSC)

The city of Darwin marks the start of the race.

Katherine – 322 km – Control Stop 1


En route to Katherine in 2011 (photo: UC Berkeley Solar Vehicle Team)

The town of Katherine (on the Katherine River) is a gateway to Nitmiluk National Park. It also serves the nearby Royal Australian Air Force base. The average maximum October temperature is 37.7°C.

Daly Waters – 588 km – Control Stop 2


The famous Daly Waters pub

Daly Waters is a small town with a famous pub. The Eindhoven team left a shirt there in 2015.

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 (photo: Tourism NT)

Tennant Creek (population about 3,500) is a small town serving nearby mines, cattle stations, and tourist attractions.

Karlu Karlu / Devils Marbles Conservation Reserve


Nuon Solar Team’s Nuna7 drives by the Devils Marbles in 2013 (photo: Jorrit Lousberg)

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


Barrow Creek Roadhouse and surrounds (photo: Adrian Kitchingman)

Barrow Creek once served the Overland Telegraph Line and nearby graziers, but is now nothing but a roadhouse. The Telegraph Station is preserved as a historical site.

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)

Ti Tree is a small settlement north of Alice Springs. Much of the local area is owned by the Anmatyerre people. In previous races, this was a control stop.

Alice Springs – 1,496 km – Control Stop 5


Alice Springs (photo: Ben Tillman)

Alice Springs is roughly the half-way point of the race.

Kulgera – 1,766 km – Control Stop 6


Sunset near Kulgera (photo: “dannebrog”)

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


Entering South Australia (photo: Phil Whitehouse)

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


Coober Pedy (photo: “Lodo27”)

The town of Coober Pedy is a major centre for opal mining. Because of the intense desert heat, many residents live underground.

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


Port Augusta (photo: “Deborah & Kevin”)

At Port Augusta, the highway reaches the Spencer Gulf. From this point, traffic becomes much heavier, which makes life more difficult for the drivers in the race.

Adelaide – Finish


Adelaide makes quite a contrast to that lengthy stretch of desert (photo: “Orderinchaos”)

Adelaide, the “City of Churches,” is the end of the race. The official finish line marks 3,022 km from Darwin.