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Australia Transportation

Tokai University Team Wins World Solar Challenge 25

Mike_EE_U_of_I writes "My wife and I went to Australia for the World Solar Challenge. My wife put up video of the start, and now an interview with one of the drivers of the winning team. Congratulations Tokai University!"
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Tokai University Team Wins World Solar Challenge

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  • Summary is remarkably uninformative, adding nothing of interest that isn't in the heading.

    They took 32 hours and 45 minutes to drive their car, Tokai Challenger2, 3021 kilometres on solar power averaging a speed of 91.54 kilometres per hour.

    Team Nuon from the Netherlands was close behind:

    Team Nuon arrived in Angle Vale at 2.12 pm Darwin time in a time of 33.5 hours with an average speed of 88.62 kilometres per hour.

    Sourced from this pdf []

    • In case it wasn't clear, the cars all start with full batteries.

      The size of the batteries is restricted (based on the chemistry used in the batteries), but no matter what type of battery you use, you can start with it full.

      I find it rather hard to evaluate how solar power has progressed because of this. What would the top average speed be if batteries started depleted?

      • Assuming they finish with the batteries depleted, I'd calculate it as though they sit on the start line for long enough to charge up the batteries from the solar panels; that'd give you a rough estimate.

        All you'd need to know is the capacity of the batteries and the output of the solar cells, which I'd look up and calculate for you if I weren't so lazy.

      • That's irrelevant. If they can drive 3000km in one 33hr trip (spread over 4 days), there is plenty of time for charging the batteries, therefore, it's reasonable to assume that you'll always start with nearly full batteries.

        • I think you are misunderstanding the point here. Why would anyone ever finish the race with the battery full? The motors run off of electricity, and the fuel is extremely limited.

          I didn't know the wait limit of the batteries when I posted before, so I went and looked it up. If you use Pb-acid (standard car battery), you are limited to 125 kg of battery. That's about triple the battery that a full-sized semi truck has, and enough to propel a little plexiglalss framed vehicle many, many km.

          But, I doubt an

          • You're missing the point. At those distances and speeds, if you finish your drive with the battery empty, it will have time to recharge before you need to drive again.

  • by inflex ( 123318 ) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @09:03AM (#37773148) Homepage Journal

    I live in the Northern Australia parts and if there's one thing we certainly don't have a shortage of, it's damned hot weather with a lot of sunshine, so solar really is easy for us to use/access, wish more of us were doing so.

    Almost 100km/hr is quite a decent rate, note that it's the speed-limit for most of the roads in Australia (some places allow 110km/hr, Northern Territory has some "unlimited" zones but that's a bit of a misnomer).

    Now, I wonder if they'll start adding new demands on the cars such as "Must run air-conditioning" or similar loads.

    • by cynyr ( 703126 )

      must seat 4 with room to move, and have AC and a sat-nav running during the whole of travel.

    • The speed this year is slower than previous (2005 was faster) ones because they have made the rules significantly harder each time round

      The cars are awesome to watch as they go by (i've seen quite a few of the races missed the last 2 and 2003) or even overtake you

      oh btw NT is limited to a numeric value these days (130km/hr)

      • by inflex ( 123318 )

        Oh thanks for the update on the NT speeds - when we used to live there (1979~1981) it was a nice "what ever" speed (Jabiru to Darwin etc) :)

  • If so, how many "puttonyos" []?
  • Hi, I'm a previous solar car driver for a university in the U.S.. Although I never raced in WSC, I did race in ASC (American Solar Challenge) and they have similar rules.

    The amount of time you get to charge the batteries is severely limited. In ASC each team is allowed to charge for one hour before they start driving and one hour after they stop. I'm not sure how much time, if any, teams are allowed to charge outside the normal driving time.

    One of the main challenges in racing a solar car is finding a good

    • And they also had some luck with the weather. It was the 21Connect from the University of Twente (from which I graduated) who started in pole position. They only by a small margin won from the Nuon, the other Dutch team. On the first day, they suffered a small malfunction and lost 20 minutes. They took over many other cars, but got much further behind, because the weather conditions became worse compared to those on the top. And the conditions only became worse. Just today, the had to battle against strong

Logic is the chastity belt of the mind!