Friday, 11 October 2013

Solar Cars

We went to see the start of the Bridgestone Solar Car race last Sunday morning. There was a reasonable crowd at the beginning and more people lined the route. An orchestra played. Politicians appeared. Flags waved. Speeches. Cheers and applause.

The race was from Darwin to Adelaide, and has already been won. Less than a week.

Bridgestone, the tyre people, are the major sponsors of this race and there are similar events held in other countries at other times with other sponsors. There have been wonderful outcomes in solar technology as a result of these races and we will all enjoy some of those benefits at some stage.

There are scrutineers for each car to ensure everything is absolutely honest. I chatted with one girl who had volunteered to be a scrutineer, a biochemistry student from China.

Entries came from many different countries. Years back the entries used to be mainly from high schools, but time and costs have changed the race completely. There was one school with a car this year but most were from universities, usually the engineering faculty.

There are different categories. The newest group is for potentially family cars. Maybe some kind of hybrid car is a possibility.

The teams have to camp by the roadside each evening and keep going from the same spot in the morning. 

The rules now state that all cars must have four wheels. In the past some cars had three wheels to reduce weight, sometimes bicycle wheels.

Inside the cars are really empty in another attempt to reduce weight.

Do these solar cars go fast? Yes. The Dutch team actually got a speeding ticket because they were going over 130 km.

Here is a link to give more colour and information. Actually the reporter who did this story, Clare, is one of my daughter's housemates. There was quite a healthy contingent of journalists from several countries.

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