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Solar race across Australia

By David, 30 October 2015

A very streamlined car driving in the desert.

Nuna 8 competing in the 2015 World Solar Challenge from Darwin to Adelaide.
Image: Bridgestone World Solar Challenge 2015.

In the latest issue of Double Helix magazine, we feature solar powered cars racing from Darwin to Adelaide. They zoomed to the finish line last week. The winner is Dutch team Nuon with their car Nuna 8!

Nuna 8 won first place in the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge by only three minutes and 35 seconds. Clenergy TeamArrow was the best placed Australian team, coming eighth.

The Bridgestone World Solar Challenge is a unique race, with teams coming from around the world to compete. Starting in Darwin, they drive during the days and camp by the road at night. They reach the finish line in Adelaide, five to seven days later.

With roughly the same power as a hair dryer, these sleek solar marvels need a heap of tech to race. Lightweight materials help them make the most of their power. And regenerative brakes capture energy lost while slowing down. Nuna 8 almost ran out of charge on the last day, until the sun broke through clouds.

This cool technology is starting to make its way into everyday life. Lighter, more efficient solar panels are making rooftop solar popular around Australia. Efficient motors and regenerative braking help hybrid and electric cars including Tesla and Prius.

The Bridgestone World Solar Challenge is more than just a car race. This year’s winners are showing off solar solutions to tomorrow’s problems.

More information

We’re driving on sunshine (video)

Interested in solar speed? Check out the October issue of Double Helix for interviews with the Aussie teams and see an avid aviator’s solar flight around the world. You can buy the October Issue at CSIRO Publishing, or subscribe to Double Helix magazine. Our next issue is on the robots of Star Wars.

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