The World Solar Challenge is a biennial solar-powered car race that started back in 1987. The race covers 1,878 miles (3,022 km) through the Australian Outback, from North to South, starting in Darwin and finishing in Adelaide, and attracts teams from all around the world.
The 30th anniversary event began yesterday, October 8, and is expected to go through October 15. This year's race accounts for 41 racers, most of them backed by teams from universities and corporations. Both Google co-founder Larry Page and Tesla co-founder J. B. Straubel are past competitors and credit the event for influences in their careers.
There are multiple classes of cars allowed to run. The streamlined Challenger class accounts for cars developed for maximum energy efficiency, only one seat and aerodynamic design. The Cruiser class accounts for cars designed for practicality and acceptance in a given market segment. Finally, the Adventure class is non-competitive and allows cars built for previous editions of the event to run again or for those who may not have quite made full compliance with the latest requirements.
The teams are allowed to drive between 8 am and 5 pm each day and to set up camp wherever their car pulls off the road at the end of the day. In addition, they can store a small amount of energy provided the majority of it comes from the sun and their vehicle's kinetic forces. Also, seven checkpoints are available along the route in case any maintenance or upgrade is needed. For those competing, the winner will be the first to cross the line in Adelaide.
You can check the position of each car at The World Solar Challenge official website. As of publishing, the Nuon Solar Team from the Netherlands has the lead with about 949 miles (1528 km) of distance still to go until they reach Adelaide.
Source: Phys.org | Images: Phys.org and Wikimedia