Solar Cars Readying For Marathon Race Across Australia

Competition includes team from University of Tehran, Iran whose car is the first solar one built in the Middle East.

Published: 21-Sep-2005

Final preparations are underway in Darwin before this weekend’s start of the Panasonic World Solar Challenge.

Due to begin at 8am on Sunday, September 25, a field of 22 solar cars will tomorrow go through final preparations, team registration and scrutineering at the Foskey Pavilion at Darwin Showgrounds.

Event Director Chris Selwood said all teams had now arrived in Darwin.

"We are down to the final few days now, so the energy and excitement is building," he said.

"A lot of teams have spent nearly two years preparing for this week, and have travelled a long way to be here, so it is crunch time for them."

The ultimate challenge in sustainable energy, the Panasonic World Solar Challenge promotes and celebrates educational and technical excellence, drawing attention to the importance of sustainable transport.

The challenge is to build a car capable of travelling the 3021 kilometres from tropical Darwin to balmy Adelaide, using only energy derived from the sun.

This year’s event, the eighth since 1987, has attracted entries teams from corporations, universities, secondary schools and enthusiasts from all over the world. 

The interest from the academic world is now so great that many of the world’s top universities are involved in solar car projects. Teams from the United States, Iran, Belgium, Canada, Netherlands and France are among the international competitors.

The Iranian team, from the University of Tehran, is making its debut in the Panasonic World Solar Challenge. Their "Persian Gazelle" car is the first solar car to be built in the Middle East.

Australia’s Aurora 101, world-record holding Dutch entry Nuna 3 and the HansGo team from Germany are all expected to feature prominently at the conclusion of the event, with the first cars due in Adelaide in the afternoon of Wednesday, September 28.

In 2003, the Dutch Nuon Solar Team broke its own 2001 world record in Nuna 2 to claim a new world mark of 30 hours and 54 minutes for driving a solar car from Darwin to Adelaide. 

For the third time, a Greenfleet class for vehicles that run on alternative fuels will be an integral part of the Panasonic World Solar Challenge. Showcasing the capabilities that fuel efficient vehicle technology and low carbon fuels can deliver, the class has attracted 11 vehicles this year.

The Panasonic World Solar Challenge is owned and managed by Australian Major Events, a division of the South Australian Tourism Commission.

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