World Solar Challenge kicks off in Australia

Punch Powertrain Solar Team from Belgium with their Punch Two car starts off as the World Solar Challenge begins at Parliament House in Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia, on Sunday. Photo by Glenn Campbell/EPA-EFE

Oct. 8 (UPI) — The world’s largest solar car race began Sunday with dozens of vehicles traveling some 1,800 miles from Australia’s north coast to south coast.

The race kicked off in front of the Darwin Parliament House in Darwin in Australia’s Northern Territory. The teams of about 40 vehicles are expected to start arriving at the finish line in Adelaide in the state of Southern Australia on Thursday.

The route follows the north-south Highway 1.

Australia’s ABC Online reported the start was bumped for at least seven teams within hours of the race’s start.

Adelaide University’s team had to pull off the course shortly after the start, but was able to rejoin the race. Other teams from Australian National University, the University of South Wales, Germany, Malaysia and South Korea also had troubles.

The Bridgestone World Solar Challenge includes three classes of solar vehicles:

— Challenger class includes the fastest cars, which are designed for speed.

— Cruise class vehicles are designed and judged based on energy efficiency, not necessarily speed. These vehicles include two or more seats.

— Adventure class is a non-competitive class that includes vehicles that were created for previous iterations of the World Solar Challenge but no longer meet the requirements of either the Challenger or Cruise classes.


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