World Solar Challenge is an exciting competition that consists of traveling 3021 km (from Darwin to Adelaide in Australia) in the shortest time possible, using only the sun’s energy.
This competition has been under development since 1987 involving both universities and private companies. In the 2011 edition involved a total of 39 teams from universities around the world. The winner was the University of Tokai, needing 32 hours and 45 minutes to complete the course at an average speed of 91.54 km/h. The second place went to the Dutch Nuon Solar Team and the third for the U.S. University of Michigan.
The cars are to propel solar power only, and may have batteries to store electricity. The strategy in the balance between consumption/production of energy is crucial to clinch victory. The race is subject to traffic rules although it is common to see “little pepper trees” like driving on the left lane (on motorways, please) if the sun is more favorable in that direction, slow down to a minimum in areas of high sun exposure (if then there is a very complicated course) and things of this kind.
The winning car (an evolution of the Solar Challenger Tokai) was Sharp solar panels and pneumatic Michelin a rolling resistance 5 times lower than that of a tire Energy Saver.