The Bridgestone World Solar Challenge

For over 30 years, the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge has welcomed the greatest minds from around the world to Australia to push the limits of technological innovation and travel the outback in a vehicle powered only by the energy of the sun.

Traversing 3,000km from Darwin to Adelaide, students teams from over 30 countries participate in the Challenger and Cruiser class.

These students and their support team have achieved greatness by engineering and building a vehicle with their own hands and powering it across some of the world's most challenging landscape.

Normally a 1000W car would complete the journey in 50 hours but solar cars are allowed a nominal 5kW hours of stored energy, which is 10% of that theoretical figure. All other energy must come from the sun or be recovered from the kinetic energy of the vehicle. These are arguably the most efficient electric vehicles.

Cruiser Class

Solar Team Eindhoven participates for the fourth time in the Cruiser class.
The Cruiser Class encourages solar electric cars designed for the mainstream with both practical and desirable features. Cruiser Class teams aim to change the way we think about what we drive and what fuels we use.

2019 is the fourth running of this class, a tribute to the inaugural event. In 2017, winner Stella Vie of Solar Team Eindhoven carried an average of three people over 3000 km using less 46 kWh of electricity—the energy cost of the journey was less than $4.70 per person.

What can we expect from teams in the Cruiser Class?

With determinants of success including payload, energy consumption and a subjective element of 'practicality', entrants are faced with the real-world challenge faced by designers around the world: what will end users (in this case, guest judges) find attractive, and give the design a desirable point of difference?

Solar Team Eindhoven 2019

Solar Team Eindhoven (STE) once again developed a comfortable solar powered family car. They will participate for the fourth time in the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge in the Cruiser Class after winning all three previous editions. 

More information can also be found at the Solar Team Eindhoven website and their social media like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn. Nice pictures can also be viewed on their Flickr page, many of those are mady by Bart van Overbeeke Fotography.

Stella Era

Stella Era has a range of 1200 kilometers with four occupants, according to the WLTP standard. The distance that Stella Era can drive when optimized for efficiency is more than 1800 kilometers. The power lies in the aerodynamics, weight, and electric efficiency of the car.

Some fun facts:

The roof is covered by 5 m² of solar cells and are made of monocrystalline silicon. Stella Era has a large trunk of 1400L, wifi connection, an integrated media system, cruise control and USB ports. The materials used are chosen to limit her carbon footprint so the upholstery is made of 40% wool and the core of the structural carbon parts of the interior is partly made of recycled PET and that the dashboard is made from a bio-composite material. She also has virtual mirrors that deliver more than 6km of extra range.

For more information about Stella Era see the Solar Team Eindhoven website.

Bridgestone World Solar Challenge planning




October 8
Static scrutineering. Judging if the vehicles will be allowed on the road. First scoring event of the competition.
October 9          
Simulation Day; practising driving in a convoy.
October 12           
Dynamic scrutineering at hidden valley. Second scoring event of the competition. These scores determine who will start in pole position on Sunday.
October 13  Start World Solar Challenge
start 8.15 uur State Square 
October 14
Tennant Creek 
October 15
Alice Springs 
October 16
Cooper Pedy
October 17
Port Augusta   
October 18
Finish around 11.30/12.00h
October 19
Jury day at Victoria Square, these scores make up half of the total score!
October 20
Evening Ceremony; announcement of the winners!

Blog 1: T minus 5, October 8th: Static Scrutineering

Only five more days to go until the start of the 2019 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge!

As of today a daily blog will be posted (providing there is an internet connection available of course).

Yesterday, today and tomorrow the various teams need to undertake static scrutineering which means they are tested on safety, weight, electric performance to name a few to ensure that all cars are roadworthy, safe, and abide by BWSC regulations.
Some cars need to represent their car at certain inspection stations if they fail to pass and are given the chance to fix the problem.

Want to know more? Read my blog!

lucky TU/e communication advisor who gets to be part of this!

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Blog 2: Simulation Day

Blog 2: Simulation Day

In order to perform well during the BWSC it is important to know exactly what to do but also to be fully aware of what not to do.
This is why we all got up at 5.30 this morning (it is still dark then) to assemble at the Solar Team Eindhoven (STE) office. Together we drove to Gunn Point Road in Darwin, the designated road for solar car testing as a big sign says. This road is relatively quiet and similar to the Stuart Highway that is mostly a single lane road.

Today we practiced many protocols, communication of the convoy and using the CB radio, taking over, oncoming traffic, being overtaken, how a BWSC control stop works etc. A Control Stop is a predetermined stopover where each car has to stop for exactly 30 minutes and where the drivers and passengers can change. STE calls this switching the salties for freshies, no explanation needed here I guess!

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Blog 3: Getting everything packed and ready

This Thursday there were not many events, apart from Stella having to drive an eight on the Hidden Valley track.
That doesn’t mean there is not much happening though! The whole Darwin office, work shop and all accommodations across town need to be cleaned, all trash has to be disposed and all tools carefully stored in the truck so it can easily be retrieved during the challenge.

Since this is not the first time the Solar Team is participating, there are many things they already have like foldable table and chairs, pots and pans, cutlery, plates, (head)lights, tents, stretchers and sleeping bags. All sleeping bags have been washed since they were in storage for 2 years so that makes sense!

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Blog 4: More preparations and errands

Another busy day at the office albeit not your usual office stuff going on. All tech boxes had to be carefully packed so that anything needed during the challenge is for grabs. Bit like Marie Kondo-ing all the technical stuff.

The truck is starting to get packed as well with all the camping gear, loads of water, safety gear and what have you. Tomorrow another huge food delivery will be packed into the fridge so Master Chef Marnix can feed 40 people every day. Breakfast means lots of bread, cheese (of course!), jam and maybe some Nutella as well? Lunch is the same and has to be prepared during breakfast.
Over the past few weeks various recipes have been put to the test and the menu for during the challenge was voted on. Everything has to be prepared on 4 cooking stoves in huge pans and 2 frying pans. Will keep you posted on the menu!

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Blog 5: Hot lap day!

You may wonder what a hot lap is and if it has anything to do with temperature on the track? That could have been the case, my shoes were literally sticking to the melting tarmac!

But no, the hot lap is the time trial each car has to do in order to determine your starting position tomorrow morning as I explained before. So it was again early morning at Hidden Valley race track so that all 41 cars would be finished at around 13h.

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