Years of engineering and hundreds of thousands of dollars in technology are being put to the test, with 38 solar cars hitting the highway in a 3,000 km race across Australia.
The World Solar Challenge began on Sunday morning 7 October in Darwin, where competing teams from 22 countries around the world gathered before sunrise to capture the first rays of precious energy.
While former winning teams Nuon from the Netherlands and Tokai from Japan will race in the "challenger" class - where speed wins - some cars will be judged on their practicality above all else. This is in the inaugural Cruiser Class, which requires entrants to meet road regulations in their home countries, and to seat at least two people. It shows a shift towards solar car technology reaching the mainstream, and pushing those developing the technology to search for the sustainable alternative to petrol-powered cars.
This year in August Team Eindhoven, gently calling its car ‘Stella’, found the formal approval of the Rijksdienst voor het Wegverkeer to drive public roads, opening the gate to the Australian Race.
Stella is a solar-powered car carrying four people hit speeds of 120 kilometers per hour on Tuesday as it raced across the Australian desert. At the end of day three of racing, Stella took the lead over the three competitors in its class. The car tracker shows the exact postion of the car in its pack.