World solar car race begins in Australia

Oct 25, 2009
A driver for team 'Sattem' gives a thumbs-up from the cockpit of a solar powered car at the start of the World Solar Challenge in Darwin, on October 25. Thirty-two solar powered cars from 17 participating countries will race over 3,000 km across the Australian outback to Adelaide.

A 3,000-kilometre (1,860-mile) solar car race across Australia's desert heartland began in the northern city of Darwin Sunday, organisers said.

The cars left Darwin in hot and humid weather at about 8:30 am (2300 GMT Saturday) on the journey that is expected to end mid-week in the South Australian city of Adelaide.

"We had 32 vehicles start this morning," Mike Drewer, a spokesman for the World Solar Challenge, told AFP, adding that weather conditions were good for solar cars.

"The first away was Aurora 101 from , having set the fastest speed time trial (of 91.83 kilometres per hour) yesterday."

It was followed by the Dutch car Nuna5, which posted a time of 85.49 kilometres per hour.

The Nuna team has won the last four solar challenge races in 2007, 2005, 2003 and 2001 but had to rebuild its new car before the start of this race after a testing accident in Darwin.

The third car to start was Germany's HS Bochum BoCruiser, which trialled at 82.52 kilometres per hour.

The solar cars race for nine hours each day, stopping at a certain cut-off time each night and camping by the side of the road, wherever they are at that moment.

"We would expect the fastest vehicles are capable of doing, depending on weather conditions, about 800 kilometres per day," Drewer said. "The fastest ones could be approaching Adelaide by Wednesday night, Thursday."

Event director Chris Selwood said picking a winner would be difficult.

"We won't really see the technology and ingenuity until the cars are scrutineered in Darwin and a lot of things can happen on the journey south," Selwood said ahead of the race.

The race is being run in tandem with the Eco Challenge, which involves production and prototype eco-friendly vehicles that are, or soon will be, available to the public.

(c) 2009 AFP

Explore further: Engineering new vehicle powertrains

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Ladies and Gentlemen, Start Your Solar Cars!

Jul 11, 2005

High school students from across the country and Mexico are on a 1,600-mile race in hand-built, solar-powered cars. The 10th annual Dell-Winston School Solar Car Challenge started today in Round Rock, Texas, ...

Mirror technology propels 2007 U-M Solar Car team

Oct 15, 2007

Mirrors hold the hopes of the 2007 University of Michigan Solar Car Team. The storied student organization with more than 100 members has a potentially game-changing car design for the upcoming Panasonic World Solar Challenge, ...

Solar Cars Driving Towards A Hydrogen Future

Sep 26, 2005

Competitors in this week's Panasonic World Solar Challenge will be demonstrating some of the fundamental technical innovations driving us towards the hydrogen economy, according to event partner, CSIRO.

Australian kangaroo cull prompts outrage

Oct 02, 2009

The culling of some 140 kangaroos on one of Australia's most famous race car tracks prompted outrage Friday from environmentalists and animal rights activists.

Sleek new MIT solar car heads to the races

Feb 25, 2009

MIT's Solar Electric Vehicle Team, the oldest such student team in the country, has just finished construction of its latest high-tech car and will be unveiling it to the public this Friday from 3 to 5 p.m. ...

Solar car aims to put rivals in the shade

Apr 06, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Plans for a solar-powered racing car which will cruise at 60mph using the same power as a hairdryer have been unveiled by students at Cambridge University.

Recommended for you

Modi wields broom in new 'Clean India' push

6 hours ago

Prime Minister Narendra Modi wielded a broom in a New Delhi slum on Thursday as he pledged to sweep away India's reputation for poor public hygiene and rudimentary sanitation.

Engineering new vehicle powertrains

23 hours ago

Car engines – whether driven by gasoline, diesel, or electricity – waste an abundance of energy. Researchers are working on ways to stem this wastefulness. Ultramodern test facilities are helping them ...

User comments : 0