The Dutch won the 2015 World Solar Challenge on October 18 with their sun-powered car, the Nuna8.
The Nuna8 utilized its impressive solar technology to be the first to cross the Australian finish line ahead of dozens of competitors.
Dozens of sun-powered cars could be seen racing through the Australian deserts on October 18 in the 2015 World Solar Challenge.
Teams representative of countries across the world competed in a 3,000 kilometer (1,864 mile) race, but it was the Dutch solar-powered car, the Nuna8, that crossed the finish line first. This victorious car was designed by the Nuon Solar Team from the Netherlands’ Delft University. The Dutch Nuna8 sped along at an average of 59-62 MPH (95-100 km), and enjoyed 98% of energy efficiency, to win the competition.
The World Solar Challenge, held biennially since the 80s, encourages the development of solar technology. The Challenge’s main requirement? That the SOLE fuel source utilized by the vehicles is the sun.
No electric plug-in charging or gas reserves for these cars, they had to rely entirely upon solar power to complete the 3,000 kilometer journey. The vehicles had to be solar-powered, but the drivers also needed to be brilliant strategists; the drivers spent the entire race doing calculations in order to determine which speed was most strategic at any given time based on the weather, the current angle of the sun, and the location of the other cars. The drivers of Nuna8 needed to know when to conserve energy by driving at lower speeds, such as in cloudy weather, and when to reach top speeds of 81 MPH (130 km), such as needing to drive past the competition. Patrick Mahony explains that the drivers of the solar-powered cars essentially behaved like a mission control center during the competition. Mahony says that this was an important and exciting event for technological advancement.