Solar Team Eindhoven heads the field at the halfway stage of the World Solar Challenge

Day three of the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge is over, and with it the first half of the route has been covered. Currently the team of TU/e, Solar Team Eindhoven, leads the Cruiser Class, thanks to having covered 1,500 kilometers with five occupants and a highly efficient energy consumption. It is this aspect that is awarded the most points in the category. 

In fact, yesterday the team even drove for a time at around 70 km/hr purely on the energy from the solar panels, so without using any of the battery power. This means that the car drove energy-positive for a time

The Eindhoven team today reached Alice Springs, 1,500 kilometers from the start, at 3:10 pm local time (it was still the middle of the night in the Netherlands). A remarkable aspect of the first half of the 3,000 kilometers is that the team has so far driven with a full complement of five team members in the solar-powered car.

While the German team from Bochum made a lot of speed, the lead has switched frequently between them and the Eindhoven team. Bochum may drive fast but with fewer occupants on board. The other formidable rival, SunSwift, seems to be beset with technical problems.

Dark clouds
Although the weather conditions during the first half of the race have been excellent and Solar Team Eindhoven has built a solid lead, the race is far from run. The stage from Alice Springs to Coober Pedy is a crucial section and dark clouds are predicted. With some of the solar energy being lost to the cloud cover, the tensions are likely to rise over the next 24 hours.
For more daily reports on the Cruiser Class check out the website of the World Solar Challenge: