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 Retrospective

After a summer break, this blog is active again. Here is a video retrospective of the recent Solar Challenge Morocco from champions Twente:

And here is one from Delft (formerly Vattenfall Solar Team, now Brunel Solar Team), who are modifying their car for the planned race in South Africa:


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.


European Solar Challenge results

The iLumen European Solar Challenge is over. Challenger Class results are shown above, and Cruiser Class results below. The heights of the bars show points allocated in the various categories. Twente was third overall on points in the Challenger Class, although a very close second in terms of laps (344).

A number of teams had some unfortunate problems, and the Cruisers from Eindhoven and PUT Solar Dynamics were not able to hit the track at all. For pictures, see team social media (see my list of teams) or iESC social media at        (click on the icons).

Update: see also this lap chart.


Six new solar cars

For solar car fans, here are six newly revealed cars. They will race at one or both of:

SCM  NL  Vattenfall Solar Team (Delft) 

Three-wheel (outrigger) challenger (new car: Nuna11) – this year will be the last year that Delft partners with Vattenfall. Starting in 2022, Brunel will be their main sponsor. They have been recruiting for the 2022 Sasol Solar Challenge, and will also race in Morocco. Their new car features an asymmetrical top surface (to create more downforce on the left wheel), a new motor cntroller (suitable for hills), and a LiFePO4 battery.


Credit (click image to zoom)

iESC  SCM  NL  Top Dutch Solar Racing 

Challenger (new car: Green Spirit) – they are hoping to race their new car in Morocco.


Credit (click image to zoom)

iESC  SCM  BE  Agoria Solar Team / KU Leuven 

Three-wheel (tadpole) challenger (new car: BluePoint Atlas) – they have built a new car to defend their title. It is named after the Atlas Mountains.


Credit (click image to zoom)

iESC  SCM  NL  Solar Team Twente 

Three-wheel (tadpole) challenger (new car: Red Horizon) – they have built a three-wheeler this year, and will race both at Zolder and in Morocco.


Credit (click image to zoom)

iESC  SCM  DE  Sonnenwagen Aachen 

Three-wheel (outrigger) challenger (new car: Covestro Photon) – this team did very well in 2019, in spite of being blown off the road. They are excited about racing at Zolder again. They will race 2 cars at Zolder: the new car (7) and the previous car (70).


Credit (click image to zoom)

iESC  TR  Solar Team Solaris (Dokuz Eylül University) 

Challenger (new car: S11) – they missed the last ESC, but hope to attend the next one with their new car.


Credit (click image to zoom)