Australia’s World Solar Challenge is underway once again. The race takes place from Darwin to Adelaide but the 1,800 road trip isn’t one people will be taking in comfort. In fact, many of the cars taking place in the race will have drivers with limbs that seized up several hundred miles before the finish line.
Clean and sustainable energy for cars
The aim of the race is to encourage innovation when it comes to clean and sustainable energy for cars. Participants come from all over the world to pit their own ingenuity against other engineers as well as the Australian landscape. There are three categories of cars and this year, 42 drivers from 40 countries have chosen to throw their hats into the ring.
New Challenges and Categories
The Challenger category often boasts the most striking designs and so it often gets the most attention. Cars in this category top out at about 60 miles per hour and they are entirely reliant on solar power for their energy.
In 2017, race officials decided to make the race a little tougher for this public favorite by changing the rules to reduce the size of solar panels allowed on each car. This rule change has challenged participants to reduce both the size and weight of their car as well as finding ways to make the most out of every bit of energy they can gather in their (now smaller) solar energy panels.
The Cruiser category features cars with a minimum of two seats and designs that seem at least somewhat comfortable – for a few minutes. The Adventure class is almost a free for all. This class includes cars that didn’t meet all the requirements for the other two categories as well as the reappearance of cars from previous years.
Get the full story on the classes – and the cars – over at the official World Solar Challenge website.