Environment

Nuon Team wins World Solar Challenge

Nuon Team wins World Solar Cha...
Nuon Team preparing for business time (Photo: World Solar Challenge)
Nuon Team preparing for business time (Photo: World Solar Challenge)
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Nuon Team's winning Nuna 7 (Photo: World Solar Challenge)
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Nuon Team's winning Nuna 7 (Photo: World Solar Challenge)
Team Tokai prepares its vehicle on day 5 (Photo: World Solar Challenge)
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Team Tokai prepares its vehicle on day 5 (Photo: World Solar Challenge)
The day 5 weather didn't help Team Tokai's cause (Photo: World Solar Challenge)
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The day 5 weather didn't help Team Tokai's cause (Photo: World Solar Challenge)
Nuna 7 made it to the finish on the morning of day 5 (Photo: World Solar Challenge)
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Nuna 7 made it to the finish on the morning of day 5 (Photo: World Solar Challenge)
An energy shortage temporarily forces Team Tokai out of the race on day 5 (Photo: World Solar Challenge)
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An energy shortage temporarily forces Team Tokai out of the race on day 5 (Photo: World Solar Challenge)
Nuon Team preparing for business time (Photo: World Solar Challenge)
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Nuon Team preparing for business time (Photo: World Solar Challenge)
Punch Powertrain Solar Team's racer (Photo: Punch Powertrain Solar Team)
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Punch Powertrain Solar Team's racer (Photo: Punch Powertrain Solar Team)
Racers line up on day 1 of the event (Photo: World Solar Challenge)
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Racers line up on day 1 of the event (Photo: World Solar Challenge)
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Delft University's Nuon Solar Team has won the Challenger class of the World Solar Challenge. Its solar-powered Nuna 7 vehicle arrived in Adelaide at 10:03 a.m. on the morning of the fifth day of the event, having led from the front for the full 3,021 km from Darwin, crossing Australia from north coast to south in a total of a little over 33 hours. That puts its average speed at an impressive 91 km/h (57 mph).

Nuon Team was closely trailed by Team Tokai from Tokai University in Japan. Winners of both the 2009 and 2011 Challenger classes (the event is biennial), Team Tokai ran into difficulty after the final checkpoint, where only minutes had separated the two teams, at once point being forced to stop due to being unable to sustain a safe speed in traffic. At the close of day 5, Nuon Team is the only one to have made it to the finish.

The result is a return to form for the Nuon Solar Team, which won the event in 2001, 2003, 2005 and 2007 with Nunas 1 through 4.

Challenger is the elite class of the event, in which vehicles race from between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. each day. Apart from a starting allowance of 5 kWh of energy, competing vehicles must make the trip using only solar energy, or energy recovered from the movement of the vehicle itself. The 5 kWh is estimated to be about 10 percent of the total required to make it the entire way.

Nuon Solar Team's overall time was a little behind its 2005 pace, when it completed the trip in 29 hours and 11 minutes achieving an average speed of 102.8 km/h (63.9 mph).

Source: World Solar Challenge (PDF)

View gallery - 8 images
5 comments
Bob Stuart
I expected at least one technical detail to account for the win. I wasted my time, but at least the article avoids teaching errors.
Bruce H. Anderson
I know that technology makes its way to everyday devices, but a biennial tit-for-tat between two coffee tables can get a little boring. Some reporting on entries in the solar challenge that could provide actual transportation for people larger than jockeys would be nice.
Island Architect
Beautiful vehicle!
With the long thin fairings it is now evident that 8 wheels can be used in a bogied configuration.
Someone will do it and roll away from all the rest.
b
YuraG
Bruce H. Anderson - your “two coffee tables ... a little boring” - is easily rebutted by the publicly available material on the development\assembly of e.g. Nuna 7, the 2013 Tokai Challenger or the race itself. WSC isn't Formula 1 by any measure and it shouldn't be, thanks goodness. Your “people larger than jockeys” - read first the WSC rules or have a look at the Cruiser Class entries.
I've followed the race closely and enjoyed it a lot. It's not very green (lots of accompanying cars/tracks), the teams aren’t on par financially and technologically, there are lots of seemingly confusing tricks to charge the batteries, but these guys do advance our view of mobility without much public funds wasted and fossil fuels burnt. The tech behind the Challenger Class is just amazing and it's being applied to what we see as an ordinary car in the Cruiser Class.
Many thanks to the WSC organisers, sponsors and teams of course for a great alternative to ICE races!
duh3000
to YuraG : Nicely answered. And I agree that ICE racing is more than a "little" boring. Like watching penny farthing bike races - good stuff for the nostalgic.