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World Solar Challenge

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By Zachary

There are a ton of cool solar technologies out there or in development these days — solar bikinis, solar-powered 3D printers and cutters, peel & stick solar panels, solar paint, and solar shingles, for example.

But, while cool solar technologies are fun, it’s hard to beat a solar vehicle race!

The World Solar Challenge is just that.

world solar challenge


It challenges people to build the fastest car they can that runs exclusively on solar power… and then drive it across Australia. (That would be 1,864 miles across the desert, from Darwin to Adelaide.)

“To design and build a car capable of crossing Australia on the silent power of nature comprehends the most innovative research and development trends in alternative transport technologies,” the website for the event states.

The World Solar Challenge is one the most prestigious events of its kind and attracts the world’s best Technical Universities and Colleges.

In fact, many of the technologies used for this event will end up making their way into normal cars of tomorrow.

One team to keep an eye on is Japan’s Tokai University.

The last time the team competed, it won. But it was using highly efficienct solar cells from Sharp that are not allowed this time around.

This time, the Tokai University team will be using Panasonic’s HIT (heterojunction with intrinsic thin layer) solar cells.

The event is scheduled for October 16-23. Put it on your calendar! Hundreds of journalists and solar enthusiasts will be doing so.

Also, if you want to get updates about the event leading up to it, you can sign up for email updates on the World Solar Challenge website (I just did).

Excited yet?

Me too. Looking forward to the race (and I’m not even much of a race guy).

The World Solar Challenge started way back in 1987. And it has very clearly become a notable world event.

Here’s a video describing the World Solar Challenge to get you even more in the mood: