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Science Technology

World Solar Challenge Set To Begin 78

Mdog writes: "The world championship of solar car racing is about (Nov. 18...ok so I can't wait :) ) to begin Down Under. World Solar Challenge pits high school, university, and corporate teams against each other in a race across Australia's Outback, from Darwin to Adelaide." Mdog supplies some more (ahem) non-partisan information about the race below.

"My Alma Mater's team (which took second in the American Solar Challenge...go UMR!) is looking to take sweet revenge on the evil (*g*) that is the U-Michigan Solar Car team (which won ASC.) Some other North American heavyweights will be Queen's University and U-Waterloo from the frigid north. I'll defer to Ozzies post links to their favoUrite college teams, which, along with the Japanese teams, are often very good. Lastly, watch out for team Solar Motions; out for blood after major technical problems two years ago. Their array is should I put this...a lot :)

I went two years ago, and this year I'll just be looking forward to this article getting posted on /. *sigh* Good luck and good sun to all the teams. No worries!"

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World Solar Challenge Set To Begin

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  • Go Netherlands ! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Tha_Zanthrax ( 521419 ) <> on Monday November 12, 2001 @08:48AM (#2553166) Homepage Journal
    The dutch entrance [] for this race looks really serious, the even got help from ESA []. They are testing a new type of solarcell which is to be used on communication satelites. Most of the competitors in the WSR are universities (so it this one) but this is proffesional material !!
  • Re:Good to see this (Score:2, Interesting)

    by danjerdanjel ( 519284 ) on Monday November 12, 2001 @09:35AM (#2553276)

    Actually a lot of the technology used in the WSC, such as wheel motors, and battery technology, are very well applicable to other vehicles.

    I know that Aurora's entrant vehicle in the '99 WSC (which won) had a wheel motor of efficiency 98.4%! And that wasn't even the most efficient wheel.

  • by horza ( 87255 ) on Monday November 12, 2001 @09:39AM (#2553292) Homepage
    I have a friend that uses a solar-powered boat to go up and down the Thames and it works even in cloudy weather. Hence it's still possible even if you won't get the same ooomph.

  • Re:Good to see this (Score:4, Interesting)

    by horza ( 87255 ) on Monday November 12, 2001 @10:14AM (#2553435) Homepage
    Sorry but oil companies are not the people pushing fuel cell technology. Try DaimlerChrysler [], General Motors [], Toyota [], Nissan [], Ford [], amongst others. You will find most of the oil companies 'fuel cell research' are actually 'joint ventures' with other large companies where they encourage the use of gasoline as a fuel cell source instead of alternatives such as hydrogen. And though some of the oil companies do some solar research, a lot of their technology is based on buying up small independant solar firms. Oil companies have nothing *against* alternative energy but their motivation is profit at any price. Thanks to independant work being done all over the world, and plenty of governments subsidy, green energy is now being eyed by oil companies as a new cost-effective area in which they can become a monopoly.

  • Tough Event (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Macfox ( 50100 ) on Monday November 12, 2001 @10:44AM (#2553551) Homepage
    2 Years ago I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to get involved in 1999 solar cycle event, which runs parallel to the World Solar Challenge (Alice/Adelaide).

    These solar car's really hoot. Pedaling our guts out in the 40 degree heat (45km/h max) these million dollar machines cruised at over 110km/h often over taking normal road vehicles.

    Many of the big budget international teams struggled with the harsh conditions. Even the smallest of problems, are logistical nightmares, as vast legs of the race are held in remote areas, 1000kms from major cities.

    Even though entering WSC event requires $100,000's, money alone will not win the event and more often than not, the simplest design wins.

    Nerveless I wish all the international and local teams the best of luck.

    For anyone living in Adelaide, I highly recommend making the trip over to Victoria race course for the finish of the event and look at the sheer level of skilled engineering that goes into these vehicles.


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