Feeds

2013 World Solar Challenge racers start the big reveal

Intrepid Reg desert trek team previews 2013's sun-powered sedans and street-legals

Top three mobile application threats

SPB In 2011, The Reg's Special Projects Bureau followed the World Solar Challenge through the dead heart of Australia.

This year, we'll do it again. 2013's World Solar Challenge hits the road on October 6th and The Register's Vulture South team will hit the road too, tracking the racers from the top end through the never-never and beyond.

We're hatching our plans and so are the team, which are keenly showing off their designs before their babies get packed into crates and shipped to Australia for the 3,000 kilometre desert epic.

Since the organisers of the challenge tell us that there are 48 teams entered for the Darwin to Adelaide sun-powered drive, there probably won't be time to cover everybody, but The Register will do our best to make use of the time between now and the race start on October 6.

While the field will still sport a large number of drivers shoehorned into aerodynamic tabletops, other builders have their eye on the new “cruiser” class that tries to replicate the family sedan experience. That's the class that the University of New South Wales (UNSW eVe) is targeting.

With more than $AU20,000 support via a Pozible campaign, eVe is a step along an ultimate goal of building a solar vehicle that would pass street registration in Australia. Even so, the two-seater still bears the marks of the need for efficiency: as well as being more aerodynamic than most sedans (which are generally bricks with engines), it's got the extremely skinny wheels needed to minimise road drag.

Watch Video

One rival of the UNSW team is Solar Team Eindhoven, which is also contesting the cruiser class with what it says is the “world's first solar family car”. Its four-seater, dubbed Stella, is designed to have a battery range of 600 km, and the team claims its panels generate enough electricity to make the vehicle energy-positive, able to return power to the grid.

Stella's design goal – apart from winning the cruiser class in the challenge – is to be able to take a family from The Netherlands to France in one day. As well as having four seats, the team has included a trunk in the design.

Watch Video

Stanford's Luminos, which will have its official unveiling on Friday July 12, is also a four-wheeler, and is US street-legal, but the single-seater won't be in the cruiser class. Its makers claim the vehicle produces less drag than a cyclist.

Stanford University's Luminos solar car

Stanford University's street-legal Luminos

The $US1.4 million four-wheeler, at 170 kg (375 pounds), is carrying a fair amount of weight, but the Stanford team hopes their high-efficiency (97 percent) electric motors will make up for some of that heft.

Cambridge University's Resolution is a lightweight teardrop that will accommodate any driver at all, so long as they're no taller than 5'3” (160 cm).

There is, however, one non-traditional approach the Cambridge team is following: movable solar panels. Instead of covering the whole car with panels – which means when the sun is low to the horizon, a significant number of panels are in shadow – the 120 kg Resolution has mounted its panels on a tracking plate.

Watch Video

Cambridge reckons its follow-the-sun panels will yield 20 percent more power than if it used static panels.

With any luck, the 2013 Solar Challenge won't suffer the dramas - bushfires, vehicle fires and cloudy weather - that left only seven contestants able to finish the 2011 race. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Most Americans doubt Big Bang, not too sure about evolution, climate change – survey
Science no match for religion, politics, business interests
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
LOHAN and the amazing technicolor spaceplane
Our Vulture 2 livery is wrapped, and it's les noix du mutt
Liftoff! SpaceX Falcon 9 lifts Dragon on third resupply mission to ISS
SpaceX snaps smartly into one-second launch window
R.I.P. LADEE: Probe smashes into lunar surface at 3,600mph
Swan dive signs off successful science mission
Opportunity selfie: Martian winds have given the spunky ol' rover a spring cleaning
Power levels up 70 per cent as the rover keeps on truckin'
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.