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World Solar Challenge About To Start

Soulskill posted about 7 months ago | from the we-bid-you-fair-weather-and-nonviolent-kangaroo dept.

Transportation 40

SustainableJeroen writes "On Sunday morning (Australian time), October 6th, 40 solar-powered vehicles from 24 countries will depart from Darwin and make their way south along the 3000km Stuart Highway towards Adelaide in the 2013 World Solar Challenge. About half of the vehicles compete in the Challenger class, the class which features what many people will recognize as typical solar racing cars: flat, UFO-like vehicles, built exclusively for efficiency and speed. For the first time, however, much more practical vehicles will race each other in the new Cruiser class. These vehicles will seat two, three of four people and be road legal. In both 2009 and 2011, the University of Michigan Solar Car Team finished third, Nuon Solar Team finished second and Tokai University finished first. The fastest vehicles will be expected to reach Adelaide on Thursday or Friday, depending on the weather."

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40 comments

Energy from the sun? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45038417)

If the sun were good for anything, somebody would have patented it already, instead it's just been uselessly shining for billions of years and doing nothing to make money.

Re:Energy from the sun? (1)

rubycodez (864176) | about 7 months ago | (#45038463)

oh come on, the sun powers plants, which our four-legged food eats.

Re:Energy from the sun? (1)

Austrian Anarchy (3010653) | about 7 months ago | (#45038661)

oh come on, the sun powers plants, which our four-legged food eats.

the sun also powers garlic, which is especially yummy on food.

Re:Energy from the sun? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45038695)

Plants were invented by Monsanto, now that's capitalism!

Re:Energy from the sun? (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 7 months ago | (#45040341)

Solar energy is currently cheaper than oil.

Just in case you wondered.

And it's rapidly becoming cheaper than wind, and almost as cheap as coal.

Re: Energy from the sun? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45046829)

Does it work at night yet? Or be timed with peak demand?

Cool in 1985 (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45038437)

meh

Re:Cool in 1985 (2)

i kan reed (749298) | about 7 months ago | (#45038543)

Yes, we know, you're completely bored with work to advance human understanding and engineering, and have become as bored with those who do interesting things, as you have in your own petty life.

Re:Cool in 1985 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45038607)

It's as fascinating as NASCAR, people have been racing solar powered vehicles for almost 30 years, so it's boring fucking news.

Get one in my driveway, then we can talk about interesting things.

Re:Cool in 1985 (1)

Austrian Anarchy (3010653) | about 7 months ago | (#45038673)

It's as fascinating as NASCAR, people have been racing solar powered vehicles for almost 30 years, so it's boring fucking news.

Get one in my driveway, then we can talk about interesting things.

NASCAR is solar powered. Where do you think gasoline comes from?

Re:Cool in 1985 (1)

SustainableJeroen (2474816) | about 7 months ago | (#45038717)

Yeah, but the ancient sunshine NASCAR runs on is running out, and even it wasn't, it has nasty side effects. These solar cars run on current sunshine, without many side effects.

Re:Cool in 1985 (2)

SJHillman (1966756) | about 7 months ago | (#45038811)

"For the first time, however, much more practical vehicles will race each other in the new Cruiser class. These vehicles will seat two, three of four people and be road legal. "

I'd call that an interesting thing if getting one in your driveway is the ultimate goal.

Re:Cool in 1985 (1)

aevan (903814) | about 7 months ago | (#45038821)

Which is why the Cruiser class makes this year's event somewhat interesting (at least to me).

Now when they have the '2 adults, 2 kids and a trunk load of groceries' class, then I'll be following it closely :P

Re:Cool in 1985 (1)

SustainableJeroen (2474816) | about 7 months ago | (#45038729)

Meh? So you're going to show us your hand-built carbon fibre solar-powered vehicle which can cross 3000 km without breaking down - and do all this faster than the vehicles of some of the smartest young people on the planet? ...I thought so.

Re:Cool in 1985 (1)

rubycodez (864176) | about 7 months ago | (#45038945)

if they were really smart they'd be working on viable and useful transportation means, such as conversion of scrubland biomass to fuel for existing internal combustion engines. direct conversion of sunlight to electricity by collectors on the vehicle is not a viable vehicle power

Re:Cool in 1985 (1)

Khashishi (775369) | about 7 months ago | (#45039007)

define viable

Re:Cool in 1985 (1)

rubycodez (864176) | about 7 months ago | (#45039605)

Viable would include parts about something people could use for transportation in most parts of the country

Re:Cool in 1985 (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 7 months ago | (#45041681)

A fucking bicycle is viable in some situations so please lay off the utterly stupid and incorrect blanket statements. Just because you can't put a tiny panel on an SUV and move it doesn't mean that the technology is useless.

Re:Cool in 1985 (1)

cusco (717999) | about 7 months ago | (#45039993)

Something some corporation can make money on while shafting their customers and suing anyone who tries to do anything even vaguely similar.

Re:Cool in 1985 (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | about 7 months ago | (#45039051)

Baby steps. That's what the Cruise class is... a step in the right direction. And it could be viable for certain markets, although not necessarily consumers. We're already going towards electric vehicles. The next step could be a plug-in electric car with a roof solar panel option. I could see it being very popular in the warmer climes. Drive to work, leave it in the parking lot and let the sun recharge it for the 8 hours you're not using it anyway. It's that much less time/money you have to spend on recharging your electric car.

It may not have any directly practical applications, but that's different than saying there's no way to adapt this technology in a practical manner.

Re:Cool in 1985 (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 7 months ago | (#45040357)

scrubland biomass is frequently not a wise choice. Solar is currently cheaper than oil, and cheaper than wind, and rapidly becoming as cheap as coal.

Adapt. Because if you don't you'll get left in the dust.

Re:Cool in 1985 (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 7 months ago | (#45041661)

Not the exact quote, but there was one along the line of "at current rates, by 1950 the streets of London will be buried under sixty feet of horse manure".
The answer for the future is not always a better horse or a better internal combustion engine for that matter.
BTW, this race is showing that it is viable for the vehicles they are using so your comment above is likely to have been disproved in some cases before you were born. That demonstrates a truly depressing lack of awareness and imagination coupled with an apparent desire to make pointless noise.

Tough road (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45038681)

Anyone who has ever driven any portion of this road knows they'll have plenty of sunshine, but a very challenging trip ahead. This trip is hard to make in a conventional vehicle. One thing about it, though, they won't have to worry about running out of petrol between Tenant Creek and Alice.

Re:Tough road (1)

SustainableJeroen (2474816) | about 7 months ago | (#45038701)

Yep, that's true. The mandatory control stops every few hundred kilometres are more for the chase vehicles than anything else. They need to refuel, whilst the solar car could go on.

Re:Tough road (1)

mathew42 (2475458) | about 7 months ago | (#45041731)

The Stuart Highway [wikipedia.org] is a reasonable stretch of road. The road has been fully sealed since the mid-1980s. It is predominately flat with few that require slowing down. The biggest danger is probably kangaroos or cattle.

Just a bunch of commies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45038907)

That's all they are... trying to get free energy

Will Africans be entering? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45039271)

What with them having such a hot continent with so much sun...

Wait, I forgot: the African LAND MASS makes Africans less intelligent than the rest of the world's population, so they are not intelligent enough to compete in this competition - until they are moved to a non-African LAND MASS, which magically makes anybody WHO STANDS ON IT more intelligent!

That is what you believe, isn't it? That it's magical properties of land masses which make one race more or less intelligent than another, and nothing to do with DNA?

I'm Tired Of Tissue Paper Racers (2)

IonOtter (629215) | about 7 months ago | (#45039939)

It's about time we start to see PRACTICAL vehicles in this contest!

I hope they do well!

Hoping the UW team places in final three (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 7 months ago | (#45040337)

I like their design this year.

The fun part has been that many of the people involved have also been working on new technology for patents in solar, biofilm, energy storage.

Heck, we're so hot here we light Teslas on fire - because we can!

come on Seattle!

Poor proofreading / editing (1)

drussell (132373) | about 7 months ago | (#45041823)

These vehicles will seat two, three of four people...

I'm not quite sure how to parse that one and/or do the math. Three of four people!? Is that like some kind of musical chairs in the car at each stop and someone rides up on the roof with the solar panels? Sign me up! Sounds like fun as long as I'm the driver! :-)

Australian time?!?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45043015)

Exactly which of Australia's 6 timezones does the article mean? I am assuming it meant ACST...

Why just solar? (1)

Hentes (2461350) | about 7 months ago | (#45043367)

I'm curious how well these cars would hold up against stored electric vehicles, or even bicycles.

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