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Power Technology

World Solar Challenge Started in Australian Desert 113

photonic writes "The World Solar Challenge has just finished the first racing day. It is a 3000 kilometer race from Darwin to Adelaide for cars that are powered by solar energy only. The results from this day have not yet been published, but intermediate results suggest that the Dutch Nuon Solar Team is again on the lead. This team from Delft University of Technology has a reputation to uphold since they also won the previous two races in 2001 and 2003, the last one in a record breaking 97 km/h average. The Tesseract team from MIT was less fortunate: during the qualification they got off track and rolled over. After some fixing up they still managed to qualify into 7th place on battery power, but with substantial damage to the solar panel their challenge will be finishing rather than winning."
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World Solar Challenge Started in Australian Desert

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  • Day 1 results (Score:4, Informative)

    by Thijs van As ( 826224 ) on Sunday September 25, 2005 @01:18PM (#13645108) Journal
    From the Dutch Nuna website:
    The Nuna 3 won day 1, finishing half an hour before the Michigan team (which got a flat tire halfway).
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 25, 2005 @01:30PM (#13645185)
    no sails, no human pedal power.
  • 4 door GTO 'coupe' (Score:4, Informative)

    by ACDChook ( 665413 ) on Sunday September 25, 2005 @01:30PM (#13645187)
    Of course it does - it's a Holden Commodore, an Australian icon (not really a fan myself, they're pretty poo cars). The 2-door coupe based off the Commodore is the Monaro, which is exported to the US as the GTO Coupe.
  • by pilardi ( 187433 ) on Sunday September 25, 2005 @01:32PM (#13645197)
    They may start with batteries charged with 5kWh of stored energy

    http://www.wsc.org.au/2005/competition/vehicle.cla sses/solar/ [wsc.org.au]
  • Test driver wanted (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 25, 2005 @01:41PM (#13645251)
    http://www.nuonsolarteam.nl/movies/ [nuonsolarteam.nl]
    Dutch team is searching for test drivers.
  • by SigmundFreud ( 656053 ) on Sunday September 25, 2005 @01:54PM (#13645335) Homepage
    The success of the Dutch team has (finally) caused others to take up the challenge. One is another from the Netherlands, the http://www.solarteamtwente.nl/nieuws.php [solarteamtwente.nl] Solutra team (http://www.utwente.nl/ [utwente.nl] University of Twente). Compared to the Delftian guys, these people are novices, but it's nice to see some real rivalry and competition being initiated. I saw them practice, just a few days before the went to Australia, and asked if they has practiced changing tires (which I think is the important thing in winning the challenge). The answer: no, not yet, do you think that's important?
    Remember that it really is a challenge, since temperatures inside the car can get more than 50 degrees Celsius.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 25, 2005 @02:09PM (#13645408)
    Darwin to Adelaide is 3050km.

    That is an order of magnitude discrepancy with the summary's quoted 300km.

    As an Aussie, I knew that sounded wrong. That route is the entire North-South breadth of the continent!
  • by 1tsm3 ( 754925 ) on Sunday September 25, 2005 @02:38PM (#13645568)
    I have been in 2 of these races and your claim about using hand-me-down solar cells is very questionable. All the teams that I know of (including mine), glue the solar cells to the body with some kind of "super glue" (epoxy, etc). And it is very difficult to remove the cells without damaging them. Do you know what you are talking about?

        I agree that the way to build a winning car is pretty much predetermined now.

  • by YesIAmAScript ( 886271 ) on Sunday September 25, 2005 @06:26PM (#13646748)
    First race was 1989, as far as I know and every 3 years since.

    So I don't get your rant here.

    These cars are very impractical. I'm not saying some of the technology can't be used in street cars. But to use these vehicles day to day would basically entail getting rid of traffic lights for starters, because their acceleration characteristics are so poor.

    As to lighter cars, if you want lighter cars, you have to start elsewhere. The biggest factor in the weight of current cars is safety and safety-based regulations. Oh, and did I mention these vehicles aren't at all safe?

    Why do you speak of electrical outlets in relation to solar cars? Sunlight is wireless.
  • by Fox_1 ( 128616 ) on Sunday September 25, 2005 @06:33PM (#13646789)
    From the University of Calgary [wsc.org.au]

    MIT's Tesseract met with disaster. Tesseract's front, left, carbon fiber tire rim broke on a tight turn causing the driver to loose control and roll over. After a few tense moments it was announced that the driver was okay, walking away with only a sprained wrist and some very rattled nerves. At the team meeting later in the day, it was mentioned that when the solar car was righted, the driver's head actually bumped the ground as the canopy had split on impact. Thankfully, MIT is one of a few teams participating in the WSC that prioritizes safety over aerodynamics, using both a roll bar and a helmet. No one doubts that the inclusion of these two safety measures assured that the driver was able to walk away today. Tesseract, on the other hand, did not fare as well as its driver. The array and top shell suffered substantial damage, but like any dedicated team, MIT is now burning the midnight oil in hopes of being on the starting line tomorrow morning
  • by LazJen ( 14834 ) on Sunday September 25, 2005 @06:34PM (#13646796) Homepage
    This challenge is also for other forms of "clean"/"green" energy.

    For example, a team is entering a car powered completely by ethanol. They converted an 80 year old vintage car for the purpose.

10.0 times 0.1 is hardly ever 1.0.