Solar cars are basically solar vehicles that are used for land transportation and combine modern technology that is mainly used in the alternative energy, aerospace, bicycle, and automotive industries. The popularity of these cars has increased significantly in the recent years, once alternative and renewable energy sources have caught people’s attention. At first, solar cars were only built for the purpose of solar car races, which gave scientists the chance to research their potential and figure out how to improve them. Even though numerous solar powered cars for daily uses have been released since then, the popularity of these races is still high. One of the most renowned such races is the World Solar Challenge, which takes place in Australia.
The history of the race goes back 20 years ago, in 1987 to be precise. Ever since the first race was held, it has attracted numerous teams from all around the world. Most of these teams are fielded by universities or research corporations, but high school teams are also present most of the times. The race covers 1,877 miles (3,021 km) through the Australian Outback, from Darwin to Adelaide. This is one of the longest routes in the history of such competitions. The objective of the race is promoting research on solar cars. This allows teams from both universities and corporations to participate and take this concept to a whole new level. In 2005, there were 22 teams competing, representing no less than 11 countries. Overall, the countries which have won the race repeatedly are Japan, Australia, the Netherlands and the United States of America. This should come as no surprise, considering how evolved technology is in these countries.
As to any race, the World Solar Challenge has some rules and instructions that participants have to follow. For instance, the solar powered cars have to adhere to the normal traffic regulations. A minimum of 2 and maximum 4 drivers can be registered in the race. Driving time is between 8:00 am and 5:00 pm (17:00). Whenever the drivers pass along checkpoints, they have to pause for 30 minutes. There are many more rules regarding the race, but these are the most important ones. For the participants to be successful, their power resource balancing needs to be efficient, as well as the power consumption. It becomes obvious that when it comes to solar powered cars, such races are very important in order for these vehicles to develop and gain in popularity.