Sasol Solar Challenge Update

The Sasol Solar Challenge is on again in September this year, with scrutineering beginning on the 4th. The chart above shows the teams registered for the event (the Dutch and Belgian teams have already arrived in South Africa). I also keep a more detailed annotated list of teams up to date.

Results of the 2018 race are shown below (the winners, now called Brunel, are back again, as are TUT, NWU, and CUT). The official race social media is at      


Solar racing car numbers

As in all races, solar racing cars are identified by number. Some solar car numbers are simply traditional, like the 8 for Agoria Solar Team from Belgium (above). Others have a specific meaning, as shown in the chart below.

Some numbers are lucky in some way, such as 21 = “Twente-One.” Some are coded references to solar technology, such as 55 = the year that Western Electric began to sell licenses for silicon PV technology. Alternatively, numbers indicate the team’s home base. This can be done by specifying a road, such as the the Interstate 35 or Strade Statali 9 = the Via Aemilia. More commonly, telephone country or area codes are used, such as 40 = Eindhoven, 46 = Sweden, 82 = South Korea, or 828 = western North Carolina. Not shown in the chart is 34 = the vehicle license plate prefix for Istanbul.

Mobile phone picture by Rafael Fernandez


Solar Car World Record

In 2020, I blogged about Brunel (then Vattenfall) Solar Team breaking their own world record to clock up 924 km in 12 solar-powered hours on the track, for an average of 77 km/h (see above).

I was busy at the time, but I need to mention that Agoria Solar Team from Belgium broke that record last month in their BluePoint Atlas, clocking up 1,051 km (653 miles) in 12 solar-powered hours on the track, for an average of 87.6 km/h or 54.4 mph (see below). Congratulations, zuiderburen! That’s going to be a tough record to beat.


Sasol Solar Challenge 2022

Here is a list of 9 teams from 3 countries (8 Challenger teams and 1 Cruiser team) intending to race in the Sasol Solar Challenge in September this year, with scrutineering beginning on the 4th (Alfaisal Solar Car Team, SunShuttle, and high school team Sonke seem to have dropped off the list). See also the race social media at      

NL  Brunel Solar Team (Delft) 

Three-wheel (outrigger) challenger (Nuna11s) – their latest car features an asymmetrical top surface (to create more downforce on the left wheel). As usual, they have modified the car for the South African race, to give an “s” version. This includes building a more powerful motor and returning to having a lithium ion battery. The team has already flown out, and can be followed at brunelsolarteam.com/race.

Previously, Delft won WSC 13; won WSC 15; won WSC 17; came 12th at WSC 19; won SASOL 14; won SASOL 16; won SASOL 18; and came 3rd at SCM 21. Their team number (3) is a long-standing tradition.

 
Left: credit / Right: credit (click images to zoom)

BE  Agoria Solar Team / KU Leuven 

Three-wheel (tadpole) challenger (BluePoint Atlas) – they are racing their record-breaking monohull here, and their older BluePoint in Belgium. The are already in South Africa. During the race, they can be tracked at live.solarteam.be.

Previously, Agoria came 6th at WSC 13; came 5th at WSC 15; came 3rd at WSC 17; won WSC 19; came 3rd at Abu Dhabi 15; came 2nd at iESC 16; came 6th at iESC 18; came 1st and 6th at iESC 20; won iESC 21; won Carrera Solar Atacama 18; and came 2nd at SCM 21. Their team number (8) is a long-standing tradition.

 
Left: Anthony Dekker / Right: credit (click images to zoom)

ZA  Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) 

Challenger (new car: Sun Chaser 4) – they won a preliminary race in Mpumalanga against NWU and Genuine JV.

Previously, TUT came 6th at SASOL 16; came 4th at SASOL 18; and won Ilanga Cup 22.


picture credit (click image to zoom)

ZA  North West University 

Challenger (Naledi 2.0) – they are looking to reclaim the “best South African team” title, which they lost to TUT in 2018, by heavily modifying their original Naledi. So far the car looks good.

Previously, NWU came 11th at WSC 15; participated at WSC 17; came 4th at SASOL 14; came 4th at SASOL 16; came 5th at SASOL 18; and came 2nd at Ilanga Cup 22.


picture credit (click image to zoom)

ZA  Genuine JV Solar Car Team  

Asymmetric challenger (new team with car: Voltwagen) – this is a new team, from Hoër Tegnologiese Skool John Vorster in Pretoria. Their car is the old car from Tshwane University of Technology, with improvements. Read about them in Afrikaans here.

Previously, JV came 3rd at Ilanga Cup 22.


picture credit (click image to zoom)

ZA  Central University of Technology (Seilatsatsi) 

Challenger (new car: Ntsu) – they are buidling a new car. Some components have been 3D-printed. Their car name is the Sesotho word for an eagle.

Previously, Seilatsatsi came 7th at SASOL 18.


picture credit (click image to zoom – OLD PIC)

ZA  University of the Free State 

Challenger (new team with car: Lengau) – this team is led by the Departments of Physics and Engineering Sciences at UFS. Their car name is the Sesotho word for a cheetah.


picture credit (click image to zoom)

ZA  SolarFlair

Challenger (new team with car: SolarFlair SP 400) – this team is from Mbombela in Mpumalanga province. They were a no-show in the Ilanga Cup.


picture credit (click image to zoom)

ZA  UniChamps Solar Car Team (University of South Africa)

Cruiser (new team with car: UniSolar) – they say “The car design was inspired by both the Lamborghini Countach LP500 and DeLorean DMC.”


picture credit (click image to zoom)

This page last updated 22:04 on 13 August 2022 AEST.


Solar Challenge Morocco, Last Day

The five-day Solar Challenge Morocco is over. With sandstorms, flooded roads, and mountain passes having gradients of up to 12%, it was without a doubt the toughest solar car race in the world. Six Challenger Class cars competed (for details, see my illustrated teams list with social media links).

Solar Team Twente (NL, team 21) won the event (as well as winning the day, on adjusted timings). They were followed by:

In addition, Solaride, from Estonia, had the only Cruiser Class car, and raced in Adventure Class. The photograph in the graphic is from Solar Team Twente. Official results are here.


Solar Challenge Morocco, Day 4

Four days of the five-day Solar Challenge Morocco are over. Six Challenger Class cars are competing (see my illustrated teams list with social media links for details). Cars climbed to about 1,280 m today, before descending back to about 730 m. The conditions were also challenging, with roads awash with water.

Solar Team Twente (NL, team 21) holds their lead over Agoria Solar Team (KU Leuven, BE, team 8), with Vattenfall Solar Team (Delft, NL, team 3) in third place. The photograph is from Top Dutch. Official results are here.


Solar Challenge Morocco, Day 3

The Solar Challenge Morocco is ongoing, with the race running until 29 October. Six Challenger Class cars are competing (see my illustrated teams list with social media links for details). Cars climbed to about 1,280 m today, before descending back to about 700 m. The weather was also challenging, with clouds and sandstorms.

Solar Team Twente (NL, team 21) has taken the lead from Agoria Solar Team (KU Leuven, BE, team 8), with Vattenfall Solar Team (Delft, NL, team 3) in third place. The photograph is from Hans-Peter van Velthoven / Vattenfall. Official results are here.


Solar Challenge Morocco, Day 2

The Solar Challenge Morocco is ongoing, with the race running until 29 October. Six Challenger Class cars are competing (see my illustrated teams list with social media links for details). Cars climbed to about 1,690 m today, before descending to about 700 m. Some of the mountain roads had inclines of up to 12%.

Agoria Solar Team (KU Leuven, BE, team 8) is still in the lead overall, although Solar Team Twente (NL, team 21) finished first today. The photograph is from Sonnenwagen Aachen (DE, team 7). Official results are here.


Solar Challenge Morocco, Day 1

The Solar Challenge Morocco has begun, with the race running until 29 October. Six Challenger Class cars are competing (see my illustrated teams list with social media links for details). Cars climbed to about 1,850 m today, before descending to about 730 m.

Agoria Solar Team (KU Leuven, BE, team 8) is currently in the lead, followed by Solar Team Twente (NL, team 21), Vattenfall Solar Team (Delft, NL, team 3), and Top Dutch Solar Racing (NL, team 6). The photograph is from Agoria.


Solar Challenge Morocco begins

Scrutineering for the Solar Challenge Morocco has begun, with the race running from 25 to 29 October. Six Challenger Class cars are competing (see my illustrated teams list with social media links for details). The montage above (assembled from team instagram feeds) shows the cars:

That is one 4-wheel bullet car (Top Dutch), three 3-wheel bullet cars, and two 3-wheel asymmetrical catamarans. In addition, Solaride, from Estonia, has the only Cruiser Class car.

Update: qualification lap times were:

  • Top Dutch (NL, team 6): 02:17 (68.69 km/h)
  • Vattenfall (NL, team 3): 02:23 (65.81 km/h)
  • Agoria (BE, team 8): 02:25 (64.90 km/h)
  • Twente (NL, team 21): 02:30 (62.74 km/h)
  • Chalmers (SE, team 51): 02:45 (57.03 km/h)
  • Sonnenwagen Aachen (DE, team 7): car being repaired after an accident
  • Solaride (EE, team 1, Cruiser): –

Update: the route for the event is as follows (the map below shows elevation):

  • Day 1: Agadir to Zagora
  • Day 2: Zagora to Merzouga
  • Day 3: loop from Merzouga
  • Day 4: Merzouga to Zagora
  • Day 5: Zagora to Agadir

Vattenfall is presenting a delayed live feed of the race.