World Solar Challenge

World Solar Challenge
World Solar Challenge
Venue Stuart Highway
Location Australia
Corporate sponsor Bridgestone
First race 1987
Last race 2015
Distance 3022 km
Most wins (team) Nuon (Challenger)
Eindhoven (Cruiser)
3,000km route of World Solar Challenge.
Nuna 3 of five time victors, Dutch Nuna team
The winner of 2009 Global Green Challenge, "Tokai Challenger", Japan Tokai University Solar Car Team
Nuna 7, winner of the 2013 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge

The World Solar Challenge or the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge due to the sponsorship of Bridgestone Corporation is a biennial solar-powered car race which covers 3,022 km (1,878 mi) through the Australian Outback, from Darwin, Northern Territory to Adelaide, South Australia.[1]

The race attracts teams from around the world, most of which are fielded by universities or corporations although some are fielded by high schools. The race has a 28-year history spanning thirteen races, with the inaugural event taking place in 1987.

The 30th anniversary event will be held October 8–15, 2017.


The objective of this competition is to promote research on solar-powered cars. Teams from universities and enterprises participate. In 2015, 43 teams from 23 countries competed in the race.[2]

Racing strategy

Efficient balancing of power resources and power consumption is the key to success during the race. At any moment in time the optimal driving speed depends on the weather forecast and the remaining capacity of the batteries. The team members in the escort cars will continuously remotely retrieve data from the solar car about its condition and use these data as input for prior developed computer programs to work out the best driving strategy.

It is equally important to charge the batteries as much as possible in periods of daylight when the car is not racing. To capture as much solar energy as possible, the solar panels are generally directed such that these are perpendicular to the incident sun rays. Sometimes the whole solar array is tilted for this purpose.

Important rules

Rule evolution


The idea for the competition originates from Danish-born adventurer Hans Tholstrup. He was the first to circumnavigate the Australian continent in a 16-foot (4.9 m) open boat. At a later stage in his life he became involved in various competitions with fuel saving cars and trucks. Already in the 1980s, he became aware of the necessity to explore sustainable energy as a replacement for the limited available fossil fuel. Sponsored by BP, he designed the world's first solar car, called The Quiet Achiever, and traversed the 4,052 km (2,518 mi) between Sydney, New South Wales and Perth, Western Australia in 20 days. That was the precursor of the World Solar Challenge.

After the 4th race, he sold the rights to the state of South Australia and leadership of the race was assumed by Chris Selwood.

The race was held every three years until 1999 when it was switched to every two years.


The first edition of the World Solar Challenge was run in 1987 when the winning entry, GM's Sunraycer won with an average speed of 67 km/h (42 mph).[3] Ford Australia's "Sunchaser" came in second. The "Solar Resource", which came in 7th overall, was first in the Private Entry category.[4]


The 1990 World Solar Challenge was won by the "Spirit of Biel", built by Biel School of Engineering and Architecture in Switzerland followed by Honda in second place.[5] Video coverage here.


The 1993 World Solar Challenge was won by the Honda Dream, and Biel School of Engineering and Architecture took second.[6] Video coverage here.


In the 1996 World Solar Challenge, the Honda Dream and Biel School of Engineering and Architecture once again placed first and second overall, respectively.[7]


The 1999 World Solar Challenge was finally won by a "home" team, the Australian Aurora team's Aurora 101 took the prize while Queen's University was the runner-up in the closely contested WSC so far. The SunRayce class of American teams was won by Massachusetts Institute of Technology.[8]


The 2001 World Solar Challenge was won by Nuna of the Delft University of Technology from the Netherlands, participating for the first time. Aurora took second place.[9]


In the 2003 World Solar Challenge Nuna 2, the successor to the winner of 2001 won again, with an average speed of 97 km/h (60 mph), while Aurora took second place again.[10]


In the 2005 World Solar Challenge the top finishers were the same for the third consecutive race as Nuon's Nuna 3 won with a record average speed of 102.75 km/h (63.85 mph), and Aurora was the runner-up.[11]


The 2007 World Solar Challenge saw the Dutch Nuon Solar team scored their fourth successive victory with Nuna 4 in the challenge class averaging 90.07 km/h (55.97 mph) under the new, more restrictive rules, while the Belgian Punch Powertrain Solar Team's Umicar Infinity placed second.[12]

The Japanese Ashiya team's Tiga won the adventure class under the old rules with an average speed of 93.53 km/h (58.12 mph).


The 2009 World Solar Challenge was won by the "Tokai Challenger", built by the Tokai University Solar Car Team in Japan with an average speed of 100.54 km/h (62.47 mph). The longtime reigning champion Nuon Solar Team's Nuna 5 finished in second place.[13]

The Sunswift IV built by students at the University of New South Wales, Australia was the winner of the silicon-based solar cell class, while Japan's Osaka Sangyo University's OSU Model S won the Adventure class.


In the 2011 World Solar Challenge Tokai University took their second title with an updated "Tokai Challenger" averaging 91.54 km/h (56.88 mph), and finishing just an hour before Nuna 6 of the Delft University of Technology.[14] The race was marred by delays caused by wildfires.


The Sunswift team from the University of New South Wales who were awarded Line Honours in the 2013 Cruiser Class

The 2013 World Solar Challenge featured the introduction of the Cruiser Class, which comprised more 'practical' solar cars with 2–4 occupants. The inaugural winner was Solar Team Eindhoven's Stella from Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands with an average speed of 74.52 km/h (46.30 mph), while the second place team was the SunCruiser from Hochschule Bochum in Germany, who inspired the creation of the Cruiser Class by racing more practical solar cars in previous WSC races. The Australian team, the University of New South Wales solar racing team Sunswift was the fastest competitor to complete the race, but was awarded third place overall after points were awarded for 'practicality' and for carrying passengers.[15]

The German SunCruiser vehicle that inspired the new for 2013 Cruiser Class

In the challenger class, the Dutch team from Delft University of Technology took back the title with Nuna 7 and an average speed of 90.71 km/h (56.36 mph), while defending champions Tokai University finished second after an exciting close race, which saw a 10–30 minute race distance, though they drained the battery in final stint due to bad weather and finished some 3 hours later; an opposite situation of the previous challenge in 2011.[16]

The Adventure Class was won by Aurora's Aurora Evolution.[17]


The 2015 World Solar Challenge was held on October 18–25 with the same classes as the 2013 race.

World Solar Challenge 2015-Parade at Victoria Sqare in Adelaide, Australia

In the cruiser class, the winner was once again Solar Team Eindhoven's Stella Lux from Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands with an average speed of 76.73 km/h (47.68 mph), while the second place team was Kogakuin University from Japan who was the first to cross the finish line, but did not receive as many points for passenger-kilometers and practicality. Bochum took 3rd place this year with the latest in their series of cruiser cars.[18]

In the challenger class, the team from Delft University of Technology retained the title with Nuna 8 and an average speed of 91.75 km/h (57.01 mph), while their Dutch counterparts, the University of Twente, who led most of the race, finished just 8 minutes behind them in second place, making 2015 the closest finish in WSC history. Tokai University passed the University of Michigan on the last day of the race to take home the bronze.[19]

The Adventure Class was won by the Houston High School solar car team from Houston, Mississippi, United States.[20]


The 2017 World Solar Challenge will be held on October 8–15, featuring the same classes as 2015.

See also

Other solar vehicle challenges



Wikimedia Commons has media related to World Solar Challenge.
This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 12/3/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.