Team Twente from the Netherlands has set the pace on the first day of the World Solar Challenge from Darwin to Adelaide.
At the end of day one in the 3000-kilometre race for solar cars, the team had covered almost 680km – just ahead of fellow Dutch competitors Vattenfall in NunaX and Top Dutch Solar Racing in Green Lightning.
Despite running the smallest car in the challenge, Team Twente reported cruising at speeds of up to 90km/h in its RED E entrant.
Other teams doing well on Sunday were Sonnenwagen from Germany, Japan’s team Kogakuin and Belgium’s Agoria.
There was also heartbreak on day one, with regular competitor Black Mamba from Stanford University in the US suffering a significant battery failure.
Team Solaris from Turkey and Thailand’s Siam Technology team in STC3 also had their cars trailered.
More than 40 teams from 21 countries are competing in this year’s challenge with the leading cars expected to arrive in Adelaide on Thursday.
As the field left Darwin, event director Chris Selwood said the challenge was more relevant today than when it began 32 years ago.
“As the world debates climate change and looks to find solutions to more sustainable mobility, these incredible young people are innovating and collaborating towards a better world,” he said.
The race has been held biannually since 1987, promoting sustainability and providing a boost for the NT and SA economies.
“We’re very proud to be able to host the start of this outback adventure and have been welcoming prestigious university teams from around the world,” NT Sports Minister Lauren Moss said, speaking from the start line.
As they make their way to Adelaide, teams will pass through checkpoints at Katherine, Daly Waters, Tennant Creek, Barrow Creek, Alice Springs, Kulgera, Coober Pedy, Glendambo and Port Augusta.
Image source: ABC