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From Quiet Achiever To The World Solar Challenge

What’s more fun that racing around a solar powered vehicle?

How about a race that involves 47 teams of them from 26 countries in a world solar and electric car competition that is the largest of its kind in the world?

From Quiet Achiever To The World Solar Challenge

Image source: Nathan Golshan on Flickr

The World Solar Challenge is a global event that was initially the idea of Hans Tholstrup, who built a solar vehicle called the Quiet Achiever. In 1982 he took his handcrafted vessel on a drive from the west through the east of Australia. Not wanting to contain the fun and challenge of building a solar car, he enticed others to join in.

The  roadway adventure caught on, and has continued since 1987.

Held every 2 years, worldwide participants from top universities, technical institutes and interested individual parties enter. The gist of the competition is to spark conversation and present the possibilities of what natural solar energy combined with electric car power is capable of. The prize – getting to to construct and drive around a neat looking and highly efficient vehicle.

These are not your average built cars, and they are riding with the message of what transportation could potentially evolve into. An alternative to standard fully electric cars the voyage is intended to showcase solar electric technology and  develop the possibilities of even someday utilizing it as a means of daily transport.

Focused on regulating and maintaining energy, requirements state that only up to 6 square meters of panels can be used. Solar vehicles are only permitted 5 kilowatts of stored power and other energy sources must be recycled from the kinetic output of the car. The results of research and design in this activity culminate in resourceful forms of transportation. Compared to many regular modes of getting around, integrating solar energy even on a small scale makes for a much smarter ride.

The 2013 event begins on 6 October in Darwin and ends in Adelaide, which covers a 3000 kilometer terrain.

Watch highlights from the 2011 event:

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