Solar Powered car Race in Australia

This year’s event marks its 30th anniversary of the world largest solar-powered car race which has just started in Australia.

The race is from Darwin, in the North of Australia to Adelaide in the South. Powered only by energy generated from the sun.

This year, a over  40 cars have entered from 3 separate categories:

The Challenger class - the elite solar cars
The Adventurer class - less competitive entries which are a little slower
The Cruiser class - vehicles designed for solar efficiency rather than speed

The World Solar Challenge has also been a battleground for technology development, with each team trying to get a competitive edge against its rivals. And that means the technology involved in the challenge has progressed considerably in the past three decades. This year Audi is developing a “solar sunroof” to power their electric car and the New Nissan Leaf will be right up there.

Thirty years ago, the teams were given a whole week to complete the challenge, but in eight years ago, the winning team completed the race in just over a day and night. As solar panels and motor efficiency have improved, new regulations have been brought in to maintain the challenge of the race including reducing the size of the solar array available to half of what was allowed when the race was first run.

Why is this important?

Electric Vehicles like the Nissan Leaf and Renault Zoe are proving that new modern batteries can carry enough energy for days of normal driving, however by adding a solar panel to charge the battery will help extend the range of Electric Vehicles. Audi has come up with the idea of a solar sunroof that, although won’t power the entire car,it will power auxiliary systems like the air conditioning – showing the way forward with solar powered vehicles.