The World Solar Challenge cuts over 3,000 km through the Australian outback, going from Darwin in the north to Port Augusta in the south. This is the route that awaits the Bochum SolarCar team, and all other challengers, every two years at the World Solar Challenge (WSC).
Image credit: Hochschule Bochum.
Having successfully participated on seven occasions, in October 2015 the “ThyssenKrupp SunRiser” finished 3rd overall.
About 50 international teams are represented at the WSC, divided into three classes: Challenger Class, Adventure Class and Class Cruiser (named after the BOcruiser the University of Bochum).
To participate in the latter category the vehicle must have at least four wheels and two seats. Here, specific evaluation criteria include speed, practicality and suitability for everyday use of the vehicle. It also needs to be street legal in its home country.
During the competition seven checkpoints have to be covered and the cars battery may only be externally charged once, therefore all participants in the Cruiser class must be able to travel at least 1,500 km on its available energy reserves. Reliability and a coordinated strategy are thus of great importance.
Also, the team is under extreme pressure: each day they must maximise the available sunlight and travel as far as possible before, then, sleeping on the roadside in the middle of the Australian desert.