Europe leads in Bridgestone solar challenge
31 teams from around the world took to the start line on Sunday for the 2023 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge across Australia.
Sonnenwagen Aachen from Germany in ‘Covestro Adelie’, lead the field out having earned pole position with the fastest lap time of 1:56:83 in time trials. Close behind was team Innoptus from Belgium in Infinite with Netherlands’ Brunel in Nuna 12, third on the grid.
Another Dutch team, Green Thunder, was fourth heading out of Darwin. Japan’s Kogakuin in Koga were 5th on the grid, Canada’s Eclipse ETS was 6th, Team Tokai from Japan 7th, and Istanbul Technical University Team from Turkey in their solar car Ariba Zes XE were 8th.
The challenges of late arrivals, logistics and rigorous safety standards for the 3000km trip have proved too much for several teams, with withdrawals confirmed for Italy’s Futurosolare; UITM Malaysia; India’s AgniRath; Hong Kong’s Sophie 8; South Korea’s Dokkaebi, Turkey’s SAITEM, and Saudi Arabia’s Estidamah.
First day results
Belgian team Innoptus set the pace in ‘Infinite’ on the first day fo the Bridgestone solar challenge, using a fin design to harness crosswinds.
By the second Control Stop, Innoptus, with an average speed of 96 kph, had extended their lead over Dutch team Brunel in Nuna 12 to 13 minutes. They were followed by their compatriots Team Twente, in RED X, moving up the field overtaking Sonnenwagen Aachen.
In the CSIRO solar electric Cruiser Class, at the end of the day, Australia’s Sunswift, in Sunswift 7, was leading the field with a score of 35.2, which reflects both energy and efficiency, and double their closest competitors Minnesota in Gaia and Solaride 2 from Estonia. Unlike the Projecta Challenger Class, the Cruisers are not judged on speed, but criteria including energy efficiency and design appeal.
The various teams are testing out a range of automotive and solar energy technologies, with Power Integrations sponsoring the αCentauri solar-powered car. This is using one of PI’s PowiGaN GaN ICs – the InnoSwitch3 flyback switcher IC – to power most of the low voltage functions – including steering wheel control, battery telemetry, connection to CANBUS, lights and horn.
A live update of the positions of the cars in the Bridgestone solar challenge is at worldsolarchallenge.org/dashboard/map