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World Solar Challenge To Start In Less Than Two Weeks

timothy posted about 10 months ago | from the may-the-sun-shine-upon-you dept.

Australia 26

SustainableJeroen writes "On October 6th, the 2013 World Solar Challenge will start. This year, 43 teams (more than ever before) from 24 countries around the world will compete in this biannual 3000 km road event, which runs from Darwin to Adelaide. In both 2009 and 2011, Tokai University (Japan), Nuon Solar Team (the Netherlands) and University of Michigan Solar Car Team (USA) finished in first, second and third position, respectively. Who will win this year? We'll know for sure on October 13th, the end of the event. Team details (photos, car specifications, links to websites) can be found here."

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26 comments

Wow. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44917403)

What a bright idea!

Re:Wow. (3, Funny)

Cryacin (657549) | about 10 months ago | (#44917467)

I'm just waiting for a car that runs on my over inflated sense of self satisfaction.

Re:Wow. (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 10 months ago | (#44917597)

You certainly have the support of the egological movement on that.

Re:Wow. (2)

Shavano (2541114) | about 10 months ago | (#44917629)

There's this: http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/projectone#model/madone7seriesteamedition [trekbikes.com]

  Or if you must have a car, you can go with a Tesla, which is mostly powered by self-satisfaction but also requires electricity, which you can at least arrange to buy from (appropriately) a wind farm, e.g. http://www.communityenergyinc.com/ [communityenergyinc.com] .

Re:Wow. (1)

moteyalpha (1228680) | about 10 months ago | (#44919537)

I won't be impressed until it can run on bugs it collects along the way, can fly, is self replicating, genetically adaptive, intelligent, and ornamental. Then we have to call it a bird, because of prior art.

Nice, put unobtainable (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44917501)

I'd wish that there was a common class for individuals paying out of their own pocket. Like with a 10.000$ limit on vehicle cost.

Re:Nice, put unobtainable (0)

Cap'nPedro (987782) | about 10 months ago | (#44917523)

$10,000 will just about cover the cost of your solar panels, good luck also getting chassis, aero shell, batteries, MPPTs, wheels/tires, etc. etc. etc. for that money.

Re:Nice, put unobtainable (1)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | about 10 months ago | (#44918635)

The rest could be made with 1.5 bicycles, and whatever electric motor and batteries you could scavenge from a junk yard.

That could make a really fun class.

Roadworthy class (2)

justthinkit (954982) | about 10 months ago | (#44917557)

Chick magnet class - minimum 2-seater, seats must be able to recline.
.

Mother-in-law class - rumble seat, noise-cancelling headphones, dummy steering wheel & brakes.

Oxford professor class - cigarette lighter/pipe-cleaner, convertible, automatic transmission.

And more seriously how about a Roadworthy class -- minimum ground clearance, lights, mirrors, a door you can climb in and out from. And maybe batteries so you can drive it when the rains come.

Re:Roadworthy class (1)

DarkOx (621550) | about 10 months ago | (#44917635)

A road worthy class might be interesting eventually but we are not there. I don't think the technology exists yet to built something that do three thousand miles in a reasonable time span on solar alone exits yet.

Think of this more like you would look at an F1 event. Its designed to try out some new technologies and experiment with new ideas about how to build an efficient solar vehicle; and its a race to make it interesting, bring people and money in.

What comes out of the efforts to compete in get adapted to your grocery getter later.

Re:Roadworthy class (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44917821)

This year there are 3 classes. the cruiser class is supposed to be read-legal (in the country or origin):
http://www.worldsolarchallenge.org/about_wsc_2013/2013_classes/michelin_cruiser_class
This class requires 1 driver + 1 passenger, both facing forward, but the seats are not required to recline :-(

Re:Roadworthy class (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44922221)

"A road worthy class might be interesting eventually but we are not there."

Actually we are there already:
Solar-powered car from TU/e officially allowed on public roads:
http://www.tue.nl/en/university/news-and-press/news/solar-powered-car-from-tue-officially-allowed-on-public-roads/

From the article:
"Stella, the world’s first and only solar-powered family car, has been approved to use the public roads in the Netherlands by the Government Road Transport Agency (RDW). With this official approval, the team from TU/e have proved that Stella is a fully roadworthy vehicle."

Re:Nice, put unobtainable (2)

tulcod (1056476) | about 10 months ago | (#44918353)

There is the new cruiser class [worldsolarchallenge.org] , where contestants are judged not on their speed but their practicality by a jury.

Setting clear price requirements is very difficult since man-hours can make up for costs of individual parts, and most of the teams consist of groups of students (10-30 each) working full-time for a year or more on just that one car. Either way, $10,000 is way below what you need for a serious solar car (you can easily spend that kind of money on the solar panels alone).

the way to win (-1, Troll)

rubycodez (864176) | about 10 months ago | (#44917517)

just make a nice charcoal fired steam engine driven vehicle, it'll blow away all those lesser "sun trickle fed" devices. Remember kiddies, its not a viable energy source for driving civilization forward unless molecules or atoms are breaking!

What's changed in two and a half decades? (1)

kinema (630983) | about 10 months ago | (#44919543)

I haven't followed this race in a very long time though, I do remember GM's Sunraycer back in 1987. My question is: what has changed in the past twenty-six years? From a quick look on Wikipedia I see that the average speeds are higher but nothing like double what they were back when I was a kid. Is it safe to assume that the improvements made have been largely incremental? Are we talking about an ever so slightly more refined design every two years, better solar tech, better drag calculations? Please don't think I'm flaming. I all challenges like this one. I'm simply interested in what kind of progress has been made.

Re:What's changed in two and a half decades? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44920055)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunraycer looks very good.
I suspect the build cost have come down a bit. (Nuna-7 almost brings a whole extra car in spare-parts.)
Maybe safety has improved since then? And a doubling of (solar-only) speed is quite impressive, with most resistances going up squared with the speed.

It's not a racetrack (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 10 months ago | (#44920171)

I see that the average speeds are higher but nothing like double what they were back when I was a kid

It's a public road with other traffic so the cars have to stick to a speed limit. It's also no Autobahn or US highway but instead a fairly cheap per km ordinary paved road.
I don't know what speed the cars could do circling a racetrack but they are not on a racetrack so they have to stay under the speed limit.

Re:It's not a racetrack (1)

rtb61 (674572) | about 10 months ago | (#44921463)

Rather than forcing them to stick to the speed limit they should start introducing other factors that will slow the vehicles down. Things like introducing the additional mass of a passenger/navigator (ensuring driver/passenger mass is uniform across all vehicles by introducing weights to balance them out to a set minimum mass). Perhaps look at including some off bitumen back roads to test suspension (including energy recovery) and vehicle durability.

To keep things focused around design, any technology used on one vehicle or team should be available to all vehicles/teams (not necessarily for free but at a reasonable price).

Re:It's not a racetrack (1)

catprog (849688) | about 10 months ago | (#44928795)

They used to be able to lie down. Now they have to be sitting.

Re:It's not a racetrack (1)

rtb61 (674572) | about 10 months ago | (#44931135)

Checked on the web site after making the comment and the cruiser class (two person) seems very interesting and the way to go, the vehicles must achieve road registrable classification in the country of origin. So overnight recharge allowed to allow for lights, indicators. Definitely the class the incorporates greater overall design elements.

Re:It's not a racetrack (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44921935)

Wasn't always the case. The NT section didn't have a speed limit in place until 2007. They even hosted Cannonball Run events.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stuart_Highway#Speed_limits

Re:What's changed in two and a half decades? (1)

tocsy (2489832) | about 10 months ago | (#44920409)

Kinema:

There have been quite a few rules changes since then, and a lot of them have been to make the race more difficult. A couple of the big rules are 1) drivers must be sitting up now instead of lying down, and 2) the area of solar cells on a car is limited to, I think, 3 square meters this year. I think the 3 square meter rule is new this past year or two, so even the two cars that I drove (I raced in the North American races back in 2009 and 2010) would not be legal since we had around 5-6 square meters of cells. I haven't raced in WSC, although my team (University of Minnesota) is racing in WSC for... either the first time ever or the first in a very long time.

Re:What's changed in two and a half decades? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44920425)

i believe they have made the rules significantly harder over time. lowering the battery allowed, the amount of panels, requiring drivers sit upright and be able to get in unassisted and a few more iirc.

Bianually? (1)

frootcakeuk (638517) | about 10 months ago | (#44920141)

" will compete in this biannual 3000 km road event"

I think you mean BIENNIAL!

Biannual means every six months.

MIT Engineers built Solar Race Car named "Eleanor" (1)

utube-youtube (3170345) | about 10 months ago | (#44920845)

A new solar car is ready to be put to the test. A team of mechanical engineers from MIT is preparing their creation for Australia's World Solar Challenge. Eleanor was born in a dull basement underneath some labs at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, also known as MIT. But Eleanor is ready for a bright challenge as she's to compete in the 'World Solar Challenge' next September. The solar challenge is a grueling 7-day, 3,000-kilometer car race across the Australian Outback. The race is a testing ground for the latest in efficient solar-powered car design. [Fiona Hughes, MIT Mechanical Engineer]: "Eleanor is definitely pushing the limits of what can be done with solar panels and solar power." Eleanor has 6 square meters of silicon solar panels with about the same watts as a hair dryer. While it may not seem like much power, Eleanor's weight, just over two hundred kilograms, and aerodynamic design allow it to speed down a highway just as fast as many petrol-based cars. [Fiona Hughes, MIT Mechanical Engineer]: "Using just power from the sun, Eleanor can cruise without draining power from her battery pack at about 50 miles per hour. If we were draining power out of the pack we would be able to reach higher speeds, possibly to 70-80 miles an hour." So apparently, the real beauty of Eleanor is her battery pack. [George Hansel, MIT Physics Major]: "Our battery pack is composed of more than 600 cells from laptop batteries. They are lithium-ion cells and they give us an equivalent of about 6 to 7 times that of a normal car battery. But is only twice to three times as heavy." MIT has been competing in the race since 1987, and Eleanor is the 10th design students at MIT will race in Australia. http://utube-youtube.com/video/0i4Tq5XkXfM/MIT-Engineers-built-Solar-Race-Car-named-Eleanor.html [utube-youtube.com]

The Solar Alarmists, here they come again (1)

Optali (809880) | about 10 months ago | (#44927493)

It's every year the same with these Solar Alarmists liberals from the IPCC (Iluminaty Panel Chinese Catering)
While their stupid theories have been debunked again and again:
here : http://southpark.wikia.com/wiki/ManBearPig [wikia.com] and here: http://thehollowearthinsider.com/archives/18002 [thehollowe...nsider.com] How can anybody still believe all these crap from these stupid astrologists, astrophysics and astronauts?

The sun does not exist!! It is just an invention of the international conspiracy of solar alarmists aimed at securing their jobs and selling more sun screen!!!

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