Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Solar Race Cars spreading across central Australia as World Solar Challenge ends 3rd day - Team Tokai way ahead

The 2011 installment of the World Solar Challenge, a solar car race that runs through central Australia, is underway.  The cars are purpose built vehicles that sit low to the ground, have extreme aerodynamics, and the whole top is generally covered in solar panels.  The race goes from Darwin (on Australias North coast) to Adelaide, on the South coast, a total distance of 3000+ kilometers.   At the end of day 3 the cars are spread across Central Australia with a couple teams within a day or two of the finish line, and at least one team suffering a fire in their car.

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Day 1 - Sunday 16th October 2011

Top 5 Teams

  1. Tokai University
  2. Nuon Solar Car Team
  3. University of Michigan
  4. Aurora
  5. Apollo Solar Car Team

Solar Team Twente ended the first day in sixth position after a bit of bad luck at the starting line.  A blown motor controller delayed their start by 20 minutes to replace the controller, and they ended up stuck in a traffic jam in Darwin.  By the first media stop 317 kilometers south of Darwin the car had overtaken 15 other cars and was in ninth position.

At the Dunmarra and Katherine checkpoints the Tokai, Michigan and Nuon teams were basically neck-and-neck.




Day 2 - Monday 17th October 2011

Top 5 Teams

  1. Tokai University
  2. Nuon Solar Car Team
  3. University of Michigan
  4. Aurora
  5. Ashiya University

Brushfires forced closure of the road for awhile.  The organization held a "control stop" at Wauchope 116km south of Tennant Creek, with the three leading teams at that stop.

Team Apollo was in fifth place, until they ran over cattle grid at 683 km south of Darwin.  The car suffered damage, and the scrutineers deemed it repairable.  They're expected to get it back on the road with a few hours delay.




Day 3 - Tuesday 18th October 2011

Top 5 Teams

  1. Tokai University
  2. Nuon Solar Car Team
  3. University of Michigan
  4. Ashiya University
  5. Aurora

Electric vehicles can burn, as the Team Phillipines car proved.  As the team made repairs to the vehicle the battery "exploded" and flames engulfed the car.  Nobody was injured and it's believed the damage is not terminal and the team can continue tomorrow.

Team Tokai has stretched their lead to 20 kilometers, or 35 minutes, with Nuon and Michigan behind them.  Tokai was also the first to cross the South Australian border meaning they've completed about 2000km of the race.

Another group of teams are 300km north at Alice Springs.






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