The Netherlands’ Nuon Solar Team are now well past Coober Pedy and their solar car, Nuna 8, is less than 700 kilometres from the World Solar Challenge finish line in Adelaide.
The Dutch team and compatriots Team Twente in Red One travelled ‘ nose to tail’ for close to 700 kilometres along the Stuart Highway on Tuesday. Nuon Solar Team have won the event five times, including the last race in 2013.
Just 11 minutes separated the top three teams as they cross the border into South Australia yesterday.
One of the stand-out aspects of Tuesday was Team Eindhoven in ‘Stella Lux’ setting a record for the first solar family car to drive 1500 kilometres at normal speeds on a single charge. Stella Lux led took pole position for the race after posting the fastest lap time in time trials at Hidden Valley on Saturday; with an average speed of 90.6 kilometres per hour.
Five Australian teams are participating in the 3,000 kilometre event, which started in Darwin on Sunday. The Australian teams are UNSW Solar Racing Team -SUNSWIFT (eVe – Cruiser class), TAFE SA Solar Spirit (Adventure class), Clenergy TeamArrow (Arrow1-GT – Challenger class), Western Sydney University Solar Car Project (Unlimited – Challenger class) and Adelaide University Solar Racing Team (Lumen – Challenger class).
The Australian team closest to the finish line is Clenergy TeamArrow; which is currently approximately 990 kilometres from Adelaide. Next is the Western Sydney University team at just over 1,500 kilometres from the finish – approximately the halfway mark.
First held in 1987 and run every two years, the World Solar Challenge was inspired by Hans Tholstrup and Larry Perkins; who drove their home-built solar car Quiet Achiever across Australia in 1982.
You can follow the progress of the solar cars on the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge live team tracker. While the cars are still some distance away, the City of Adelaide finish line opens from noon today and will turn into a solar car village as the teams complete their journey. Finish line events include the Australian International Model Solar Car and Solar Boat National Finals. A full schedule of events can be viewed here.