In this year biannual competition for World Solar Challenge, 46 teams from 25 countries are required to drive solar powered cars across almost 1900 miles throughout Australia’s Outback. That means the participants need to travel from Darwin which is in North Australia to Adelaide which is in the South Australia. There are three categories of the competition, Challenger Class, Cruiser Class and Adventure Class. However, most participants will be competing in the Challenger and Cruiser Class.
In the Challenger Class, the participants normally will have smaller vehicles which carries only the driver and they are timed only once throughout the competition. On top of that they are allowed to charge their vehicle only once while the rest of the journey they will need to depend on the solar to charge their vehicle.
In the Cruiser Class, the participants normally will have bigger vehicles as it carries a driver and a passenger. They are timed twice throughout the whole competition. One stage is between Darwin to Alice Springs while the other stage is between Alice Springs and Adelaide. Unlike the Challenger Class, the participants of this category are able to recharge their battery twice. Once before the competition starts while the other one during the midway point while the rest of the journey, they are required to get the power from the sun.
It seems that most of the teams which are taking part in this year competition, took part in the previous competition but they bringing a better version of vehicles than the previous ones. Stanford team, for example, in 2013, they won the four spot in the Challenger Class and they awarded with the “Best Undergraduate Team in the World”. This year, the team is bringing a newly designed Arctan which promised to be able to run on an improved solar technology but in a smaller design.
Nuon Solar team is another example. The team who comes from Delft University of Technology in Netherlands is taking part in the Challenger Class. This year, they are bringing Nuna 8 which is designed to have lighter weight as they are using 3D printing to improve their speed. Tokai University is another challenger in the same class. The team won second place in 2013 competition and this year, they are bringing a thinner version of the previous version that they brought in the previous competition.