Revised SOLAR RACING board game!

In honour of the upcoming World Solar Challenge, I’ve revised my SOLAR RACING board game (see picture above). Game play is more interesting now, as game play uses a deck of 54 cards, rather than just dice. The cards are illustrated with 16 photographs of central Australia and of previous races. If you’re interested, game rules can be downloaded from the game page (see the link in the “Downloads” section).


World Solar Challenge head to head: Korea

The World Solar Challenge is an exciting race to find the best solar car in the world. That makes for serious competition between countries. But there are also some interesting contests within countries. The most obvious is between Nuon (3) and Twente (21), who came first and second in the Challenger class last time.

Within Korea, Kookmin University Solar Team (82, Taegeuk, above) has a track record, coming 20th in the Challenger class in 2015. Korea National University of Transportation (28, Woong-bi, below) is a new team. Both teams have very nice-looking cars. Who will be the best Korean team this year?


World Solar Challenge head to head: USA Challengers

The World Solar Challenge is an exciting race to find the best solar car in the world. That makes for serious competition between countries. But there are also some interesting contests within countries. The most obvious is between Nuon (3) and Twente (21), who came first and second in the Challenger class last time.

Within the USA, Michigan (2, Novum, above) has generally been the best, although Stanford (16, Sundae, below) has recently been close behind (see chart at top). This year, Michigan has “thought outside the box.” If their unusual design succeeds, they could win. If not, Stanford could take over as “Best in the West.” What will happen?


Best WSC car name award


Red Shift, the car from Solar Team Twente

It has been my tradition to hand out “Gem Awards” after major solar car races. This year, I’m beginning rather early, awarding the “Best Solar Car Name” gem to Solar Team Twente, for their car name, Red Shift.

Twente’s car name is a reference to the shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy, as well as being a really, really geeky way of saying eat my dust. It also continues the naming sequence previously established with their Red Engine (2013) and Red One (2015). Good luck for the 2017 World Solar Challenge, guys!


There was strong competition, but the 2017 “Best Solar Car Name” gem goes to Solar Team Twente


World Solar Challenge teams

The map above (click to zoom) shows the 45 solar car teams scheduled to race in the World Solar Challenge in October (labels for Nuon, Eindhoven, and Aachen would not fit, but you know where they are).

Teams marked in green have already revealed their car, while teams marked in white are still finishing construction (or just being very secretive). Best of luck to all the teams!


World Solar Challenge car sizes

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.


Preliminary WSC poster

Above is a preliminary version of a poster showing World Solar Challenge teams (click image to zoom). I will update the poster as more cars are revealed. Cruisers are listed first, then Challengers, and finally the Adventure class.

This poster has been updated. Twice. It is also available with a white background: