The World Solar Challenge is a solar powered car race over 3021 km through central Australia from Darwin to Adelaide. The race attracts teams from around the world, most of which are fielded by universities or corporations although some are fielded by high schools.
You can be part of one of the greatest adventures of our time. From tropical Darwin to balmy Adelaide - more than 3000km of some of the most remote and beautiful country on earth. Design, plan, toil, then race to glory.
Once again, the organisers of the WSC welcome Panasonic as the major sponsor of the event, and acknowledge the outstanding vision of that organisation in making that commitment.
The objective of this competition is to promote research on solar-powered cars. Teams from universities and enterprises participate. In 2005 a maximum of 30 teams will be registered by the organising committee.
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 (normal) escort cars will continuously retrieve remotely 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. Therefore the requirement that the foot well for the Official Observer, who is to be hosted by the primary escort vehicle, should not be filled up with computer equipment.
It is equally important to charge the batteries as much as possible in the periods from sunrise till 0800 and from 1700 till sunset. To capture as much solar-energy as possible, the solar panels are generally directed such that these are perpendicular to the incident sun rays. Often the whole car is tilted for this purpose.
The idea for the competition originates from Danish born adventurer Hans Thostrup (1944). He was the first to circumnavigate the Australian continent in a 16 feet open boat. At a later stage in his life he became involved in various competitions with fuel saving cars and trucks. Already in the eighties 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 "Quiet Achiever", and traversed the 4052 km between Sydney and Perth in 20 days. That was the precursor of the World Solar Challenger.
After the 4th race, he sold the rights to the state of South Australia and was the leadership assumed by Chris Selwood.
The race was held every three years until 1999 when it was switched to a two year event.
The next race will take place in 200_, 20 years after the first race.