Solar Powered Car Race Begins in Australia

It's that time of year again! The solar car transcontinental race is in full swing and teams from around the world have come to compete against each other and see who really designed the best solar-powered car.

Solar-powered cars from more than 30 countries around the world have begun a biennial 3,000km (1,865-mile) race from Darwin to Adelaide, north to south across the centre of Australia. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the competition Usually teams in the World Solar Challenge are made up of students who have built their vehicles with their own hands.The competitors did some test runs before the start and then raced on Saturday to establish the final grid position.

The rules of the race are quite precise. "Based on the original notion that a 1000W car would complete the journey in 50 hours, solar cars are allowed a nominal 5kW hours of stored energy, which is 10% of that theoretical figure. All other energy must come from the sun or be recovered from the kinetic energy of the vehicle," the organizers say. Once the teams leave Darwin they must travel as far as they can each day until 17:00 "when they make camp in the desert wherever they happen to be". All teams must be fully self-sufficient. So far Belgium's Punch Powertrain team took the pole position, reaching an average speed of 83.4km/h.

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