European teams continue to lead the Bridgestone Solar Challenge to drive 3000km across Australia on one battery charge and solar power.
The current leader, the Innoptus Solar team from Belgium in Infinite, took the lead an hour out of Darwin. Around 67 kilometres off the lead pace is Dutch team Twente in RED X with Brunel in Nuna 12 close behind. All three teams have travelled more than 1,400 kilometres on solar power, around 60 minutes ahead of last year’s pace.
Air temperatures are hovering around 40 degrees Celsius for most of the day, and the cockpit around 50 degrees.
Germany’s Sonnenwagen Aachen team in Covestro Adelie, is 120 km behind Brunel, holding fourth place ahead of Japan’s team Tokai who are approximately 45 kilometres behind with US team Michigan gaining ground on Tokai in a fight for fifth and sixth place.
Top Dutch in Green Thunder is in Barrow Creek with Japan’s Kogakuin in Koga further behind in eighth place. Rounding out the top 10 is Sweden’s JU Solar in Axelight and UK’s Durham in DUSC23.
Six CSIRO Cruiser Class teams now remain competitive: Australia’s Sunswift 7 taking a clear lead, the only team to make the Tennant Creek time target, carrying four people with an energy efficiency performance estimated at twice that of a current Tesla.
The remaining five teams will receive time penalties. US Minnesota in Gaia was 52 minutes after the target time, followed by Estonia’s Solaride, Taiwan’s Apollo IX, Australia’s ASCEND, and China’s Sun Shuttle. All are camping at Tennant Creek for the first of two compulsory overnight stops and the first opportunity for external charging from the grid.
The Bridgestone World Solar Challenge VAILO Car Tracker has the current positions.