World Solar Challenge

The World Solar Challenge is a solar car race across Australia (from Darwin to Adelaide), held every two years. I blogged extensively about the 2015 event. The website is starting to put up information for the 2017 race, and I have posted a list of new and returning teams for 2017. I have also designed a board game inspired by the race.

The 2017 WSC regulations include the following changes:

  • Control stop procedures have changed.
  • The maximum allowable size for cars has been increased to allow greater diversity of design, and provisions made to find synergy with other international events.
  • Challenger solar collector area has been reduced from 6 m2 to 4 m2 (for silicon PV), half of what was allowed in the first World Solar Challenge in 1987. However, for GaAs, the area has been increased to 3.56 m2.
  • Cruiser solar collector area is reduced to 5 m2 for silicon PV cells, to make it easier to fit a solar collector on a practical car. For GaAs, the area has been increased to 4.44 m2.
  • The apertures of solar reflectors and concentrators will be restricted, and external devices intended to increase the irradiance on the solar collector must not be used at any time.
  • Refinements have been made to the requirements for occupant protection and vehicle dynamics. In addition there is a new requirement for mechanical braking on all road wheels.
  • Energy storage (and recharge) limits have been removed for Cruiser Class, which will be run as a single stage ‘regularity trial.’ Success in the Cruiser Class will be based on energy efficiency, practicality, and adherence to time targets. The winner will be the Cruiser team that completes the route, arriving in Adelaide within the target time window, and has the highest value of 80 E/E* + 20 P/P* (where E is energy efficiency score, P is practicality score, and X* is highest X).
  • Adventure Class will be non-competitive.

For a more detailed analysis of the new rules, see

Here is a wall chart of 2015 teams (click on the image to zoom). The first two columns are Cruiser class entries, the last column is the Adventure class, and the five central columns are the Challenger class (it’s also available in a white background):

Also of potential interest:

For final 2015 results, see this chart of the twenty top Challenger class cars:

This chart breaks down the scores for the top five cars in the Cruiser class for 2015: