Nuon Team wins World Solar Challenge


October 10, 2013

Nuon Team preparing for business time (Photo: World Solar Challenge)

Nuon Team preparing for business time (Photo: World Solar Challenge)

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Delft University's Nuon Solar Team has won the Challenger class of the World Solar Challenge. Its solar-powered Nuna 7 vehicle arrived in Adelaide at 10:03 a.m. on the morning of the fifth day of the event, having led from the front for the full 3,021 km from Darwin, crossing Australia from north coast to south in a total of a little over 33 hours. That puts its average speed at an impressive 91 km/h (57 mph).

Nuon Team was closely trailed by Team Tokai from Tokai University in Japan. Winners of both the 2009 and 2011 Challenger classes (the event is biennial), Team Tokai ran into difficulty after the final checkpoint, where only minutes had separated the two teams, at once point being forced to stop due to being unable to sustain a safe speed in traffic. At the close of day 5, Nuon Team is the only one to have made it to the finish.

The result is a return to form for the Nuon Solar Team, which won the event in 2001, 2003, 2005 and 2007 with Nunas 1 through 4.

Challenger is the elite class of the event, in which vehicles race from between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. each day. Apart from a starting allowance of 5 kWh of energy, competing vehicles must make the trip using only solar energy, or energy recovered from the movement of the vehicle itself. The 5 kWh is estimated to be about 10 percent of the total required to make it the entire way.

Nuon Solar Team's overall time was a little behind its 2005 pace, when it completed the trip in 29 hours and 11 minutes achieving an average speed of 102.8 km/h (63.9 mph).

Source: World Solar Challenge (PDF)

About the Author
James Holloway James lives in East London where he punctuates endless tea drinking with freelance writing and meteorological angst. Unlocking Every Extend Extra Extreme’s “Master of Extreme” achievement was the fourth proudest moment of his life. All articles by James Holloway

I expected at least one technical detail to account for the win. I wasted my time, but at least the article avoids teaching errors.

Bob Stuart

I know that technology makes its way to everyday devices, but a biennial tit-for-tat between two coffee tables can get a little boring. Some reporting on entries in the solar challenge that could provide actual transportation for people larger than jockeys would be nice.

Bruce H. Anderson

Beautiful vehicle!

With the long thin fairings it is now evident that 8 wheels can be used in a bogied configuration.

Someone will do it and roll away from all the rest.


Island Architect

Bruce H. Anderson - your “two coffee tables ... a little boring” - is easily rebutted by the publicly available material on the development\assembly of e.g. Nuna 7, the 2013 Tokai Challenger or the race itself. WSC isn't Formula 1 by any measure and it shouldn't be, thanks goodness. Your “people larger than jockeys” - read first the WSC rules or have a look at the Cruiser Class entries.

I've followed the race closely and enjoyed it a lot. It's not very green (lots of accompanying cars/tracks), the teams aren’t on par financially and technologically, there are lots of seemingly confusing tricks to charge the batteries, but these guys do advance our view of mobility without much public funds wasted and fossil fuels burnt. The tech behind the Challenger Class is just amazing and it's being applied to what we see as an ordinary car in the Cruiser Class.

Many thanks to the WSC organisers, sponsors and teams of course for a great alternative to ICE races!


to YuraG : Nicely answered. And I agree that ICE racing is more than a "little" boring. Like watching penny farthing bike races - good stuff for the nostalgic.

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