Nearly 40 solar powered cars are racing across the centre of Australia, in the World Solar Challenge. Teams from countries including Chile, South Korea and the Netherlands are vying to reach Adelaide first.

Tom Copley reports.


It’s the 30th anniversary of the transcontinental World Solar Challenge.

The three thousand kilometre journey from Darwin to Adelaide is for many a ‘once in a lifetime experience’.

Teams compete across three different classes to find a design as the world’s most efficient electric car.

The Netherlands team has cars built specifically for sustained endurance.

Sarah Benninkbolt, Nuon Solar Team: “The field is so far apart this year, all the cars looked completely different. All we know is we’ve got a good car, we’ve got it running perfectly the last couple of days and we’re really confident we’re going to do everything it takes to win.”

Mississippi Choctaw High School students also are competing under less stringent racing conditions.

Breanna Isaac, Mississippi Choctaw High: “So we were invited and our car competes at the Texas Solar Challenge back at home and we’re very competitive where we are so we wanted to bring it on a more upper scale and to see how we do.”

Teams looking for poll position must find the balance between speed, endurance and efficiency.

Western Sydney Uni is competing in its third event.

Saami Bashar, Western Sydney Solar Team: “Overtaking takes a lot of energy that we would otherwise not want to use so we feel very happy to be in third, because we don’t have to overtake that many cars leaving Darwin.”

Japan’s Tokai University holds the record for the fastest crossing.

It’s currently second, behind the Netherlands.

Tom Copley, QUT News.