The Bridgestone World Solar Challenge is a 3000 kilometre race from North to South Australia with 40 solar electric powered vehicles developed by students from 13 countries. Only a nominal 5 kW hours of stored energy is allowed, while all other energy to complete the journey must come from the sun, or be recovered from the kinetic energy of the vehicle.
The race starts 6 October 2013 in Darwin and finishes on 13 October in Adelaide. The competitors could enter one of the three classes. The classic and most exciting class is the ‘Challenger Class’, which is conducted in a single stage. The Cruiser Class is a category for bigger ‘family’ vehicles. One driver and one passenger will be on board at all times, while the teams may charge the cars overnight. The Adventure Class is meant for older vehicles.
Before the start
Thorough team scrutineering will take place until 4 October. The teams have four days to meet the minimum vehicle requirements of their regulatory compliance and structural integrity of the competition before they are allowed to compete. Vehicles will be progressively dismantled for inspection and reassembled in a ‘production line’ process on the scrutineering floor.
A series of dynamic tests in steering, braking and performance will follow after the car has passed the scrutineering. A timed lap on the Hidden Valley race track will determine the starting position of each team on Sunday 6 October.
At 8:30 hours on Sunday morning, the Chief Minister will start the race at State Square Darwin by ‘flagging off’ the solar cars as they commence their journey south.
During the journey there are seven mandatory check points where drivers are changed and team managers may update themselves with the latest information on the weather and their own position in the field. Teams may perform the most basic of maintenance only – checking and maintenance of tyre pressure and cleaning of debris from the vehicle.
The finish line is drawn this year at Hindmarsh Square / Mukata in the heart of the Adelaide business district. Inhabitants and fans from all over the world are invited to witness the teams crossing the line on Sunday 13 October. When the cars have reached their destiny, they will perform one more time. Not for competition, but show. For the first time in its history, the solar electric cars will take to the streets of Adelaide for a closed street parade.
Who will win?
It’s hard to predict which team will hold the best cards to win this years Bridgestone World Solar Challenge. Anything can happen during the 3000 kilometre journey. The Japanese Tokai University has won the latest two editions and are – of course – willing to continue their winning streak. Another top competitor is the Dutch Delft University of Technology, which has won the challenge four times.
Click here for the team overview, the news items and twitter feed with the people involved.