October 16, 2007 The 2007 Panasonic World Solar Challenge kicks off this Sunday October 21. An established platform for the promotion and development of sustainable energy in transport, the biennial race runs for seven days and covers a distance of 3000 km (nearly 1900 miles) from Darwin to Adelaide in Australia. This year 40 teams from across the globe will compete including the Avivasolarcar, a vehicle capable of achieving speeds of up to 75kmh (47mph) while emitting no carbon dioxide and using less electricity than is a toaster.
Using solar cells manufactured for the NASA Hubble telescope project the Avivasolarcar is the result of Aviva Australia’s environmental program and the team’s participation is thanks to a partnership between Aviva and the Southern Aurora Vehicle Association.
Steve Martinich, manager of the Avivasolarcar team, said that his team is a diverse group of 13 people from regional Victoria. “Team members hail from Hamilton, Portland, Heywood, Cavendish and Batesford – among them are engineers, a secondary teacher, small business owner, farming contractor, veterinary surgeon, business consultant, a respite program manager and five high school students.”
With a car for the average Australian adding around 5.5 tons of greenhouse gasses to the atmosphere each year, the World Solar Challenge is an important event to raise awareness of alternative energies and show that vehicles can be powered using methods other than traditional fossil fuels. This year’s event is the 20th anniversary and will see 40 international participants take part. This clean and sustainable event sees the cars reaching the legal speed limits on the open highway and with zero carbon emissions.
Internal combustion vehicles promoting an enhanced environmental profile will also compete in the "Greenfleet Technology Class" and four vehicles from Australia, New Zealand and Japan will line-up in the "Prototype experimental vehicles Class".
The Avivasolarcar is a previous winner of the World Solar Challenge taking out line honors in 1999 and in 2005 it qualified ninth in a field of 23 solar cars from USA, UK, Germany, Canada, France, Japan, Netherlands, Taiwan, Iran, Belgium and Australia. The same year it also broke the world 24-hour record with a 1339 km (832 mile) run at the Ford Australia proving ground near Geelong. Electrical and solar panel upgrades have been undertaken to help ensure the vehicle remains competitive.
Stay tuned for updates leading up to the October 28 conclusion of the race.