Veolia World Solar Challenge 2013







Entries are to be called in July 2012. The 2013 event will be the 12th long distance race in the present format, to be run as single stage of 3000km. The race will begin on Sunday October 20th 2013.


The organizers are pleased to hear from anyone interested in participating in this great event.


Please read the 2011 General and Technical Regulations for the 2011 Veolia World Solar Challenge, published at: Event Regulations page. The 2011 rules supersede previous rules - so be careful to look at the up to date version.







The World Solar Challenge is a solar-powered car race which covers 3,021 km (1,877 mi) through the Australian Outback, from Darwin to Adelaide.

The race attracts teams from around the world, most of which are fielded by universities or corporations although some are fielded by high schools. The race has a 20-year history spanning nine races, with the inaugural event taking place in 1987.



The objective of this competition is to promote research on solar-powered cars. Teams from universities and enterprises participate. In 2005, 22 teams from 11 countries entered the primary race category.

Racing strategy


Efficient balancing of power resources and power consumption is the key to success during the race. At any moment in time the optimal driving speed depends on the weather (forecast) and the remaining capacity of the batteries. The team members in the (normal) escort cars will continuously remotely retrieve data from the solar car about its condition and use these data as input for prior developed computer programs to work out the best driving strategy.

It is equally important to charge the batteries as much as possible in periods of daylight when the car is not racing. To capture as much solar-energy as possible, the solar panels are generally directed such that these are perpendicular to the incident sun rays. Often the whole car is tilted for this purpose.

Tokai solar car team, winners Darwin to Adelaide world solar challenge


WSC: the Tokai Challenger team




Important rules


As the race is over public roads, the cars have to adhere to the normal traffic regulations; however, there is a special note in the official regulations remarking on the tendency of drivers to take advantage of a favourable road camber in order to capture the maximum amount of solar energy. After midday when the sun is in the west, it would be advantageous to drive on the right side of the highway, provided, of course, there is no traffic in opposite direction.
A minimum of 2 and maximum 4 drivers have to be registered. If the weight of a driver (including clothes) is less than 80 kg (180 lb), ballast will be added to make up the difference.
Driving time is between 8:00 and 17:00 (from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.). In order to select a suitable place for the overnight stop (alongside the highway) it is possible to extend the driving period for a maximum of 10 minutes, which extra driving time will be compensated by a starting time delay the next day.

At various points along the route there are checkpoints where every car has to pause for 30 minutes. Only limited maintenance tasks (no repairs) are allowed during these compulsory stops.

The capacity of the batteries is limited to a mass for each chemistry (such as Lithium Ion) equivalent to approximately 5 kWh maximum. At the start of the race, the batteries may be fully charged. Batteries may not be replaced during the competition, except in the situation of a breakdown. However, in that case a penalty time will apply.

Except for the maximum outer dimensions, there are no further restrictions on the design and construction of the car.

The deceleration of the dual braking system must be at least 3.8 m/s (149.6 in/s).


Rule evolution


By 2005, several teams were handicapped by the South Australian speed limit of 110 km/h (68 mph), as well as the difficulties of support crews keeping up with 130 km/h (81 mph) race vehicles. It was generally agreed that the challenge of building a solar vehicle capable of crossing Australia at vehicular speeds had been met and exceeded. A new challenge was set: to build a new generation of solar car, which, with little modification, could be the basis for a practical proposition for sustainable transport



Racing across Australia from Darwin to Adelaide, the Tokai Challenger


WSC challenger: Team Tokai



2007 race


Entrants to the 2007 race chose between racing in the Adventure and Challenge classes. Challenge class cars were restricted to 6 square meters of solar collectors (a 25% reduction), driver access and egress were required to be unaided, seating position upright, steering controlled with a steering wheel, and many new safety requirements were added. Competitors also had to adhere to the new 130 km/h (81 mph) speed limit across the Northern Territory portion of the Stuart Highway.

The 2007 event again featured a range of supplementary classes, including the Greenfleet class, which features a range of non-solar energy-efficient vehicles exhibiting their fuel efficiency.

Panasonic was the primary sponsor of the 2007 World Solar Challenge which ran from October 21 to 28, 2007.

2009 race


For the challenge class several new rules were adopted, including the use of profiled tyres. Battery weight limits depend on secondary cell chemistries so that competitors have similar energy storage capabilities.


Nuna 3 at Zandvoort, World Solar Challenge racing car


WSC challenger: Nuna 3




The idea for the competition originates from Danish-born adventurer Hans Tholstrup. He was the first to circumnavigate the Australian continent in a 16-foot (4.9 m) open boat. At a later stage in his life he became involved in various competitions with fuel saving cars and trucks. Already in the 1980s, he became aware of the necessity to explore sustainable energy as a replacement for the limited available fossil fuel. Sponsored by BP, he designed the world's first solar car, called The Quiet Achiever, and traversed the 4,052 km (2,518 mi) between Sydney and Perth in 20 days. That was the precursor of the World Solar Challenge.

After the 4th race, he sold the rights to the state of South Australia and leadership of the race was assumed by Chris Selwood.

The race was held every three years until 1999 when it was switched to every two years.

The first race was run in 1987 when the winning entry, GM's Sunraycer won with an average speed of 67 km/h (42 mph). Ford Australia's "Sunchaser" was second and "Spirit of Biel" was third. The "Solar Resource", which came in 7th overall, was first in the Private Entry category.
In 1990 the race was won by the "Spirit of Biel", built by Biel School of Engineering and Architecture in Switzerland followed by Honda in second place and University of Michigan in third. Video coverage here.

In 1993 the race was won by Honda. 







WSC Honda 1993





In 1996 the race was won by Honda for a second time.








WSC Honda 1996





Finally in 1999 a "home" team, the Australian "Aurora", took the prize.

In 2001 the Nuna of the Delft University of Technology from the Netherlands, participating for the first time, was the fastest.

In 2003 the Nuna 2, the successor to the winner of 2001 won again, with an average speed of 97 km/h (60 mph).

In 2005 the Nuna team scored a hat-trick with their third victory in a row; their Nuna 3 won with a record average speed of 102.75 km/h (63.85 mph). Aurora finished in second place followed by the University of Michigan in third.

In 2007 the Dutch Nuon Solar team scored their fourth successive victory with Nuna 4 in the challenge class averaging 90.07 km/h (55.97 mph) under the new rules, while the Ashiya team with their car Tiga won the race in the adventure class under the old rules with an average speed of 93.53 km/h (58.12 mph).

In 2009 the race was won by the "Tokai Challenger", built by the Tokai University Solar Car Team in Japan. The Dutch Nuon Solar Team's Nuna 5 finished in second place followed by the University of Michigan in third. The first Australian car across the line was Sunswift IV built by students at the University of New South Wales which came in fourth overall and was the first silicon-based cell car to finish.



Race Year Class Vehicle Number Winner Team Country Total racetime (hrs:min) Ave Speed (km/h)
1. 1987 23 Sunraycer General Motors United States of America 44:54 66.9
2. 1990 38 Spirit of Biel/Bienne II Engineering College of Biel Switzerland 46:08 65.2
3. 1993 55 Dream Honda Japan 35:28 85.0
4 1996 46 Dream Honda Japan 33:53 89.8
5. 1999 43 Aurora 101 Aurora Vehicle Association/RMIT University Australia 41:06 73.0
6. 2001 37 Alpha Centauri Team
(Nuna 1)
TU Delft Netherlands 32:39 91.8
7. 2003 33 Nuon Solar Team
(Nuna 2)
TU Delft Netherlands 31:05 97.02
8. 2005 30 Nuon Solar Team
(Nuna 3)
TU Delft Netherlands 29:11 102.8
9. 2007 Challenge 23 Nuon Solar Team
(Nuna 4)
TU Delft Netherlands 33:00 90.87
Adventure 18 TIGA Ashiya University Japan 32:03 93.57
10. 2009 Challenge 32 Tokai Challenger Tokai University Japan 29:49 100.54
Challenge Class Silicon 25 Sunswift IVy University of New South Wales Australia 39:18 76.28
Adventure 24 OSU Model S' Osaka Sangyo University Japan 34:45 86.27
11. 2011 Challenge 1 Tokai Challenger Tokai University Japan 32:45 91.54





Be part of one of the greatest adventures of our time.  From tropical Darwin to balmy Adelaide - more than 3000km of some of the most remote and beautiful country on earth.   Design, plan, toil, then race to glory.




Sasol sponsors solar speedsters | ITWeb

The winning team at last year's World Solar Challenge in Australia, Japan's Tokai University, managed an average speed of 101km/h  find out more



PDplus Veolia World Solar Challenge on Vimeo

Briefing with Chris Selwood, World Solar Challenge Director and Andris Samsons, Aurora Vehicle Association Chairman and Aurora driver  find out more



Sasol Solar Challenge South Africa 2012 - CAR Magazine

Primary Class in the World Solar Challenge in Australia; a 6 square meter maximum solar array,  three wheels allowed and less strict on braking and wiring  see more



Sun Speedster: High School Solar Car Makes Debut at Town Day

They aim to build a really-fast solar car: 30-to-40 mph  find out more



Sasol sponsors solar speedsters

Sasol Solar Challenge SA race director, Winstone Jordaan, said the event ranked as one of the top of its kind in the world, adding that the ?unique South read more








Naming Sponsor




Pioneer Sponsors






Platinum Sponsors








Supporting Sponsors















WSC history 1987 - 2005







  1. World Solar Challenge Homepage

  2. Global Green Challenge Homepage

  3. Images from Alice Springs, Australia - 2007

  4. An overview of all the competing teams in the 2011 WSC






Veolia World Solar Challenge
C/- Clipsal 500 Adelaide Headquarters
Ground Floor
191 Pulteney Street (corner Flinders Street)
Adelaide 5000

Postal Address
PO Box 663
Kent Town SA 5071

T: +61 8 8212 8500
F: + 61 8 8212 6700









A dream can make all the difference under the sun - when a bunch of high school misfits in Hawaii, introduced by their new teacher (Halle Berry), attend a science fair in which they draw up inspiration to build their own solar car and win a trip to compete in the 1990 World Solar Challenge in Australia. One of my favourites NK









WSC 2011 - Panasonic







Healthier alternative tastes for adventure capitalists


Solar Cola soft drink can trademark blue planet earth design




The content of this website is copyright and design copyright 1991 and 2012 Electrick Publications. All rights reserved. The bluebird logo Solar Cola trademark bird of prey logo & names Bluebird and Blueplanet Ecostar are trademarks.  The BE2 and BE3 vehicle configurations are registered designs .  All other trademarks are hereby acknowledged.  Max Energy Ltd is an educational charity. Please note that the Australian: 'World Solar Challenge' is a superb road vehicle endurance race from Darwin to Adelaide and should not be confused with any other solar powered event(s).