Thursday, October 5, 2017

WSC 2017: Oct 5th

Scheduled static scrutineering should be wrapping up soon in Darwin. WSC has a scrutineering tracker page set up now, and as of this blog post, only 15 of the 41 teams had fully passed static scrutineering. ScientificGems is also tracking scrutineering here. I believe the 6th is a free day in the schedule, so I expect that almost all of the teams will get through before the start of dynamic scrutineering on the 7th.

Through various sources, I've been piecing together the weights of the Challenger cars. Interestingly, it was surprisingly easy to find out the weights of the top cars - Nuon actually announced theirs on Twitter, and Punch published theirs on an Instagram story. The top teams from last year are all incredibly close in weight - Nuon is 141 kg, Punch is 143.1 kg, Twente is 143.4 kg and Tokai is 146 kg.  These are also the four lightest cars at the event (of the cars I have data for). The lone outlier among the top cars is Michigan at 193 kg. That seems very heavy for such a teensy car... One of my old solar cars was lighter than that, and it had more than double the array area!

EDIT  OCT 6: Tokai's car actually weighs 172.4kg. The initial weight was erroneously reported without the battery pack.

I have weight data on 17 of the 25 Challenger cars, but unfortunately I don't have information for some of the other cars that I'm very interested in - WSU, NIT, or Kogakuin. Stanford's Sundae is 218kg, which seems exceedingly heavy for a small car. NWU's Naledi weighs 225 kg, which is perhaps unsurprising given that it's the largest car at the event.

There's not too much I can talk about with scrutineering - not being on the floor myself, I can't get a sense of what's going on, and the photos that are being posted are of the "here is a pretty car" variety rather than detail shots of unique features. That said, a few things that are worth pointing out:

Punch's steering mechanism
(image source)
It's always gratifying when something you called early on based on a few pixels turns out to be completely correct. In this case, I noticed some oddities with Punch's steering mechanism way back in mid August, and my silly theory was right! Punch posted a closeup of their steering mechanism with the cover off to Facebook today, and it's really cool. They're doing a 4 wheel steering setup: the front wheels are directly driven from the steering wheel, but the rear wheels are driven by a Geneva drive. So the rear wheels are locked straight ahead most of the time, but kick out when the steering is near full lock. 

If you're still not sure what you're looking at, see the lovingly MSPaint annotated image below:


The systm is pictured in the straight-ahead orientation. As the driver turns the steering wheel, the face highlighted in red slides along the face highlighted in light blue. So the front wheels steer continuously, while the rear wheels remain locked straight ahead until the pin circled in orange interfaces with the slot outlined in green. At this point, the countershaft turns and the rear wheels begin to steer. This is not a continuous drive, as in the gif on Wikipedia - there should be steering stops set to limit the rotation of the main shaft such that the pin can't exit the slot on the other side. For steering in the other direction, presumably there's a matching slot on the bottom of the plate on the countershaft, as I can see another pin peeking out at the bottom of the plate on the main shaft.

This is extremely clever! It's much more lightweight than electrically or hydraulically driven rear steering, and has none of the control system lag that's a possibility with electrical steering (Michigan famously failed to qualify for ASC 2003 because there was too much lag in the control system for the electrically steered rear wheels). That said, there may be some interesting jerkiness to the steering feel - the highest rear steer rate is the point at which the rear steer kicks in; it won't be a gradual ramp. But I'm sure Punch has designed the system so they only need that much steering at very low speeds.

I'd also like to point out a few photos of Nuna 9:

(image source)
(image source)
Nothing too mindblowing here, but I wanted to point out extremely clean seams and the gasket sealing around top shell and driver hatch. The separation of the driver hatch opening from the array opening in the top photo is particularly clean. The seams on Nuon's car are incredibly good this year; you can barely see the edges of the wheel cover panels in photos of the car.

The second Nuon photo is a great example of the integral array stands we've been seeing on a lot of cars this year. I think the revisions to the regs this year did a much better job forcing teams to build clean, integral array standing mechanisms than the 2015 regs did. Hopefully the updated regs will result in less control stop shenanigans as well. While on that topic, I've yet to see any array normalization mechanism on Tokai's car. There are some asymmetric features on the back of the driver compartment that are presumably for an array tilting mechanism, but the team has been simply lifting the top off at all of the inspection stations.

As far as I am aware, both the Tehran and Mississippi Choktaw teams are still missing their cars. Choktaw's car has competed in the USA previously and is only entered in the adventure class, so hopefully they can blaze through inspection if they get their car tomorrow. But as far as I'm aware the Iranian car still needs a lot of work in order to be ready to compete, so unfortunately I think that at this point their withdrawl from the Cruiser class is pretty much guaranteed.

That's all I have for today. Good luck to all of the teams!

Monday, October 2, 2017

Quick Links: October 3rd

We've been forwarded a schedule for WSC 2017 scrutineering:

October 2
1200 77: Blue Sky 5: SunSPEC
October 3
0730 88: Kogakuin 15: WSU
0800 14: Flinders 45: Lodz
0830 75: UNSW 18: UiTM
0900 20: DUEM 25: NIT
1200 28: Neul-Hae-Rang 32: Principia
1230 35: IVE 82: KUSTC
1300 71: ITU 37: Goko
October 4
0730 3: Nuon 21: Twente
0800 10: Tokai 8: Punch
0830 16: Stanford 2: Michigan
0900 70: Sonnenwagen Aachen 7: AUSRT
1200 4: Antakari 43: ANU
1230 52: Illini 34: RVCE
1300 38: NWU 46: JU
October 5
0730 9: PrISUmn 11: Bochum
0800 22: MDH 23: Tehran
0830 42: TAFE SA 40: Eindhoven
0900 30: Team Arrow 49: Siam Tech
1200 53: Mississippi Choctaw 94: Minnesota
1230 95: KUAS/Apollo 12: CUER


It's currently 10:30am on the 3rd in Darwin, so several teams have been through scrutineering already, although we don't know how many (if any) have passed yet. The World Solar Challenge has actually been updating their TwitterInstagram, and Facebook accounts, so go and check them out.

Note that Kogakuin's Wing has no signs of damage, so the rumors that they had a wreck testing in the outback in SA seem to have been erroneous.

The rest of the teams have arrived at Hidden Valley: Michigan, Stanford, Iowa, Bochum, TAFE SA, and Apollo are all there now. I still haven't see photos of Siam Tech's Nikola or Tehran's Persian Gazelle IV, however...

Feast your eyes on NWU's Naledi: The array tilts! I've been waiting a while for a picture of this.

This year, MDH is the unlucky team with last-minute battery shipping issues. They're pressing onward and building a brand-new battery in the pits at Hidden Valley; hopefully they'll get it running well enough to compete. MIT was in a very similar position in 2011 and managed to perform acceptably.

In more unfortunate news, CUER has wrecked their car while testing somewhere around Alice Springs (presumably at the Alice Springs Inland Dragway). The team states "The CUER vehicle Mirage has been involved in an incident during testing at a facility in Alice Springs over the weekend. The driver was taken to hospital where she was treated for minor abrasions and fractures, and has since been discharged. Mirage has sustained major damage and regrettably will be unable to compete in the Challenger Class for the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge."

I'm glad everyone is still alive. With a simple rear roll hoop, there's not a lot protecting the driver from frontal impacts if the car ends up on its side at speed. Broken bones are no joke; I think this might be the worst solar car driver injury in over a decade. I'm pretty sure the drivers walked away from the car when MIT flipped in 2005, when Stanford wrecked in 2007, when Umicore, Nuon and Twente wrecked in 2009, and CUER's own incidents in 2013...

(For those playing along at home, CUER is now two-for-three on wrecking their "Resolution Concept" vehicles during testing in AU prior to the start of WSC...)

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Quick Links: September 29th

I've been super busy with work and next week looks just as bad, so rather than the usual long-form team by team update, here's a brief post with some quick links.

Scientific Gems has been keeping his map up to date. The vast majority of the teams are in Darwin at this point, and the rest are all enroute from points south (with two exceptions: I don't know where Siam Tech's or Tehran's cars are). Here's a really, really brief location update for the teams:

In Darwin

Nuon, PunchTwenteJUSonnenwagenBlue Sky, and Eindhoven have all been testing on the Cox Peninsula. 

Antakari, AUSRT, WSU, UiTM, DUEMMDH, NIT, Neul-Hae-Rang, Principia, Goko, RVCE, ANU, ITU, Kookmin, Kogakuin, SunSPEC, Flinders, Arrow, IVE Sophie, Lodz, UNSW, Minnesota, and Illini all have their cars in Darwin and have settled into their pit bays at Hidden Valley. I'm not 100% on Mississippi Choctaw, but I think they have as well.

Minnesota may be heading out on the Cox Peninsula at some point to do some road testing; I'm not sure about any of the other teams at Hidden Valley.

Tokai has arrived in Darwin after traveling north from Adelaide. I'm not sure if they were test driving the car, or just hauled the car north in the trailer - they didn't post any photos of the car driving while en-route. I'm also not sure if they're going to test on the Cox Peninsula, or set up in a garage at Hidden Valley.

NWU has their car somewhere in Darwin, but not in Hidden Valley. Portions of the team appear to still be traveling north to Darwin.

In The Outback

Michigan has completed a second, shorter mock race in South Australia and is now heading north for Darwin. At this point I think they've spent 12 days doing mock race stuff in the outback - about two and a half WSC's worth of time.

CUER has been testing in the outback, and has finally received their canopy.

Stanford has packed the car up after completing testing in SA and is in transit to Darwin

Iowa State has finished testing in the Outback and is currently enroute to Darwin

Bochum has completed their repairs in Coober Pedy (aided by several other teams) and is on the way to Darwin. The rain in the outback looks really nasty...

Blech
(image source)

TAFE SA has departed for Darwin, and Apollo is on the way as well.

Location Unsure???

Siam Tech's team is definitely at Hidden Valley, but their car is conspicuously missing from their video, and I unfortunately don't speak Thai... I haven't seen their car in anyone else's photos from Hidden Valley either.

Tehran shipped the car a while back, and posted a video of it driving from before it shipped, but I don't know the current wherabouts of the team or car.

Other News

Nuon reports that they have an entire battery pack's worth of cells that are up for grabs if any teams have having last-minute trouble with battery pack shipping - and it sounds like that's a situation that at least a few teams are in, yikes!

Weather: Bochum and CUER aren't the only teams talking about the weather; I've heard similar news from Stanford and Michigan. Every solar car race is affected by the weather, but it could be a larger factor than usual at this year's WSC. A rainier race may negate some of the possible advantages of the multi-junction arrays and monohull cars...

Unfortunately, I won't be making it down to Australia before the race to cover inspections like I did in 2015. I'm going to be really busy with work next week as well, so I might not have too much time to scour the teams' social media, either. There's a lot of activity on the Facebook discussion group; definitely the place you should be reading for up-to-date information. This Twitter list that I put together is another good thing to bookmark, as is the #BWSC17 hashtag.

will make it into Adelaide a few days before the finish line, and hope to intercept the leaders somewhere around around Coober Pedy - so keep an eye out for some good finish line coverage from here and on Twitter.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

WSC 2017 Cruiser Summary

Solar car racing has never really been about practicality. Sure, teams have built and raced multi-seat solar cars in the past - Honda famously won WSC 1996 with their back-to-back two-seat Honda Dream, and 6m x 2m ISF6000 two-seat cars went head-to-head against 5m x 1.8m ISF5000 single-seat cars at ASC and WSC from 2001 to 2005. But none of those cars were designed to be practical; they were still race cars that were designed to be as light as fast as possible.

All of this changed in 2013 when WSC developed the Cruiser Class for their event. Cars in the Cruiser Class would be allowed to recharge their battery off the grid(!), and would be required to seat more than one person. In addition, for what I believe was the first time, the solar cars would be judged based on something other than which car crossed the finish line first. They would be judged on the sum total distance of people carried in the car (person-km), the amount of grid energy used, and the subjective practicality of the car.

In 2013, elapsed time was worth 56.60% of a teams final score, energy usage was worth 18.87%, person-km was worth 5.66%, and practicality was 18.87%. The formula was tweaked slightly for 2015 (elapsed time 70%, energy usage 15%, person-km 5%, practicality 15%), but the event was largely the same.

2017 Changes


There have been a lot of changes to the Cruiser class in 2017. For starters, I wouldn't call it a race anymore. Teams must arrive in Adelaide between 11:00 and 14:00 on the 6th day, and no credit will be given for arriving earlier. Without the "trying to go faster than the other teams" aspect, I'd simply call it a competition...

Scoring this year is 20% practicality and 80% "energy efficiency", where the "energy efficiency" score is calculated as person-km divided by energy usage - energy usage being the capacity of the battery pack, multiplied by the number of times a team charges off the grid + 1 (to account for the energy in the battery at the start line). While we're talking about charging off the grid, that has changed for 2017 as well - a team can charge off the grid anywhere, any number of times (in 2013, there were three locations, and in 2015 there was a single opportunity in Alice Springs). And battery size limits have been eliminated as well - a team can pick any size pack they want.

Speed and energy usage were such a big part of the old scoring formulas and person-km was such a small part; I really think that the old rules favored 2-seat cars*. 2017 is a completely different ballgame: instead of a dinky 5% of the score, person-km has a multiplicative effect on a factor that accounts for 80% of the score!

Looking at the energy efficiency score, I don't see any downsides to cramming as many people in the car as possible. Sure, a 4-seat car will have more aerodynamic drag than a comparable 2-seat car, but it won't have double the drag. It won't weigh twice as much either - many things will weigh the same regardless of how many people are in the car (the solar array, the lights, the steering wheel and pedals, etc). So by placing more people in the car, the drag-per-person and the mass-per-person both go down, which should reduce the energy-usage-per-person - exactly what the teams are being scored on. I'd also expect cars with more seats will place better on practicality, so more seats appears to be a win all around.

*Yes, Eindhoven won with 4-seat cars in both 2013 and 2015, but I'd argue this was due to the quality of the car and the team, rather than designs with more seats having an inherent advantage. In 2013, they carried more people, used the same amount of energy, and yet went FASTER than two of the three 2-seat cars that finished the course. 2015 was a similar story - the Eindhoven team was simply in a class of their own.

How many people can teams fit?


So how many people is it possible to fit in a solar car? Several things place an upper limit on the number of people that makes sense. Each person added increases a team's potential score by a smaller amount - the score increases towards a horizontal asymptote as people are added, rather than increasing linearly. But the score theoretically does keep rising as people are added... Practically speaking, however, an increasing number of people will at some point result in aerodynamic compromises to keep the car within the 5m x 2.2m planform, and at that point adding more people will rapidly stop making sense. Even earlier than that, a design will run into a weight problem - I think that's what ultimately puts an upper limit on the number of people that a team can reasonably fit.

The Michelin Radial X and Schwalbe Energizer S both have a load rating of 150kg (and I suspect the Bridgestone Ecopia is similar), so a 4-wheeled car can weigh a maximum of 600kg. Each occupant weighs 80kg (if they're lighter, they're ballasted up to that amount - reg 3.12.8), so a 4-seat car has 320kg of occupants, and a 5-seat car has 400 kg of occupants. This does not leave a lot of weight budget left over for the car itself! Typical Challenger cars weigh 135-150kg; add in some extra weight for a larger battery, more seats, stronger chassis and suspension, etc... and you'll be over 600kg really quickly. A 6-seat car would need to weigh less than even the lightest Challenger cars to stay within the load rating of the tires, and that just ain't happening. A 6-seat car would have to move up to real car tires, which would increase weight, aerodynamic drag, and rolling resistance - and that would result in a huge downward step function in score.

Of course, this is all probably irrelevant at WSC - given the "roll cages" they still allow, do you think they'll care about something as trivial as load ratings on the tires??? Eindhoven claims Stella Vie weighs 375kg, so with 5 people inside, it weighs 775kg - 30% over the maximum allowed load on the tires (and that assumes a perfect 50/50 F/R weight bias). If WSC was being strict, they'd only allow Eindhoven to drive with two people inside a car that heavy!

But even if WSC won't prevent teams from blowing past the load ratings on the tires, I'm not sure how far I'd want to push the limits. Some of the worst crashes in WSC history have been due to tire blowouts, and with such heavier cars, the kinetic energy to deal with in a collision is much higher... Honestly, the 4/5 seat cars give me a little bit of the heebie-jeebies; we've already seen a suspension failure from UNSW and some sort of structural chassis failure from Bochum, and the event hasn't even started yet.

(EDIT 9/29: A comment below notes that the load rating on the Bridgestone Ecopia is higher than the 150kg load rating on the Michelin and Schwalbe tires. They don't say how much, but anything over 195 kg would allow Eindhoven to carry all five people without blowing the load rating.)

How small can the battery get?


So we've looked at how many people a team can practically fit. What if we move in the other direction? What if instead of adding people to maximize the person-km/energy-usage equation, we minimize the number of people and radically reduce our energy usage instead?

Given the arrival window, a team needs to have an average speed of at least 65kph. This speed would be good enough for about 9th or 10th place in the 2015 Challenger class. So, imagine if Nuon elongaged their driver canopy and stuck a "cheater" seat behind the driver's seat so it's technically a 2-seat car... how small do you think they could shrink their battery and still be able to place around 10th?

Back-of-the-envelope calculations tell me that the point a cheater-car beats a good 5-seat car is around a 2.5kWh pack. If you built a high-quality cheater-challenger car for the Cruiser class with a sub-2.5kWh pack and managed to finish the competition without recharging off the grid*, I think victory would be possible**. I heard that a few different teams strongly considered building this sort of car, but none of them ended up doing so. I think this sort of car is just too risky - because if you mess up your strategy, end up behind the minimum speed, and have to charge off the grid just once, your score gets cut in half. Which brings me to yet another way that more seats are better this year: strategy risk.

*Is 2.5kWh enough to finish the competition with? Once the pack gets small enough that you can't store all the energy from an evening and morning charge, performance of the car starts to drop off quickly, and I'm not sure if 2.5kWh is past that line...

**I don't speak Dutch, but it appears that Eindhoven thought about doing this in the past - lots of highly aero-optimized 2-seat concept sketches are shown in this video.

Cruiser Strategy


Strategy has really been turned on its head in the Cruiser class this year. In a race, it's easy to adjust your strategy. Have a little extra energy in the pack? Speed up a little bit to burn it off, and place higher. Looks like you're going to have an energy shortfall? Slow down a hair to save some energy. But in the 2017 Cruiser class, you can't adjust your speed. No extra credit is given for arriving early, so there is precisely zero advantage to driving faster than 65kph (other than to build up a buffer to account for unforeseen issues). And you can't drive slower, because otherwise you simply don't finish. The only knobs a team can turn is how many people are in the car, and how many times they charge off the grid - and both of those are BIG knobs to turn, resulting in LARGE step functions in a team's score.

In the absence of speed as a variable that can be tweaked on the fly, the Cruiser teams are left with weight - in other words, how many people are in the car at any one time. They can only change this so many times - a seat must be continuously occupied for an entire leg between control stops for the person-km to be counted, and there are a limited number of control stops, as ScientificGems illustrates here. Therefore, the Cruiser cars with more seats have an advantage when it comes ot adjusting strategy over the course of the race, as they have finer control over the weight of the car. It's probably smart to design the car and strategy such that at the optimal speed, one of the seats is empty some of the time - this allows the team to increase their scoring performance if they're using less energy than expected. If a team starts off the competition planning to have all seats occupied all the time, they don't have a good way of increasing their energy efficiency score if the conditions end up allowing for it.

On the battery front, I'm not sure whether it's better to use a large battery that you plan on never charging off the grid, or a smaller battery that you intend to charge nearly every night. 

A smaller battery is lighter, and allows for more strategy modulation - skipping a charge or adding an extra charge has a smaller effect on score*. However, every time a team charges their battery off the grid, it's assumed they charged it from completely empty to completely full; there's no net-metering credit for only partially charging the battery. So every time a team charges overnight, they effectively "throw away" the "free" solar energy from that evening and morning charge, as well as whatever residual energy was left in the pack when they started charging.

A team that never charges off the grid doesn't "lose" any energy to the scoring equation, but they have to lug around a heavier battery throughout the competition. The strategy is riskier as well - if they fall behind and have to recharge off the grid a single time, their score is cut in half**.

*But still far larger an effect than adding or removing a person for a single leg of the competition, even in a 2-seat car.

**For what it's worth, I think Eindhoven is going with the "big battery, no recharges" strategy this year. They did 2015 with a 15kWh battery and a single recharge. This year they have a 12kWh battery, but competition speeds will be about 10kph lower, which means less energy expenditure over the event (and I think their aerodynamics have improved significantly as well). The array is smaller, but due to the lower speed they'll have more time under the sun, and I think they'll collect about the same amount of solar energy overall. I wouldn't be surprised if Eindhoven does the whole competition without recharging, and I would be surprised if they charge more than once.

Spectating


Due to how the competition is done this year, it will be impossible to tell how it's going just from the road position of the cars. I expect that all of the cars will be bunched very tightly together; all trying to drive no faster than necessary to finish before the deadline in Adelaide. Unless WSC publishes the battery capacity of each of the competitors prior to the event, and over the course of the event publishes when teams grid charge and how many people arrive in each car at each control stop, we will have literally no idea who is in the lead until WSC announces the winner at the awards ceremony. I implore WSC to publish this information as the competition progresses, so the public can follow along. If they don't, the Cruisers are going to drop off of everyone's radar the moment they cross the start line.

The Cars


There are 14 entries in the Cruiser Class this year:

Team
# of Seats
40: Eindhoven 5
45: Lodz 5
9: PrISUm 4
11: Bochum 4
23: Tehran 4
75: UNSW 4
14: Flinders 3
5: SunSPEC 2
30: Arrow 2
35: IVE 2
42: TAFE SA 2
49: Siam Tech 2
94: Minnesota 2
95: Apollo 2

Unlike previous years in which 2-seat cars comprised most of the field, half the field is doing more than two seats this time around. Unlike the Challenger class, none of the teams have taken the multi-junction array option.

Not too much more to say, so let's get to our top picks:

Eindhoven

Eindhoven is the undisputed champion of the Cruiser class, having won both previous events, and the car they've designed for WSC this year does not disappoint.

Photo: Bart van Overbeeke, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
(image source)
Photo: Bart van Overbeeke, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
(image source)
Photo: Bart van Overbeeke, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
(image source)

Stella Vie takes advantage of 2017's larger bounding box and smaller 5sqm array to fit an extra person in a much more curvaceous car than 2015's Stella Lux. Yes, this is a 5-seat car, with 3-across in the second row! The quality appears just as high as on Eindhoven's previous cars, and as I detailed above, I think that designing for more people was definitely the smart strategy this year.

This is the team to beat. Full stop, end of story.

Bochum

Bochum has been credited with inspiring the Cruiser class - the team fielded a side-by-side 2-seat car at WSC in 2011, before the class existed. This year, they've built their first 4-seat car, Blue.Cruiser.

Photo: Stephan Schwabe
(image source)
(image source)
(image source)

Bochum's previous two Cruiser cars were hampered by their solar arrays. Both 2013's SunCruiser and 2015's SunRiser were built with 3sqm multi-junction arrays, and they were competing against cars with up to 6sqm silicon arrays. They were cute cars (particularly SunRiser), but they simply didn't have the array performance necessary to be competitive. This year, Bochum is getting more serious about winning - they fit the full 5sqm of silicon cells allowed; Blue.Cruiser won't be at a power disadvantage. The car also appears more aggressively streamlined than in the past, and it packs 4 people into an impressively tight cockpit (There's enough room in the back to nap comfortably, however).

Bochum had some sort of incident while testing in the outback - I don't have many details, but I've heard through the grapevine that the rear array panel blew off, and perhaps some structural chassis damage occurred. The damage sounds minor enough, and the latest news from their Instagram is that they're back on the road. I expect that Bochum will do very well in the Cruiser class this year - maybe even challenging Eindhoven for the win.

PrISUm

Iowa State University has been in the solar car game for a long time - I remember seeing an "Iowa State University: Shading your array since 1989" t-shirt at an event some years back. They've attended Sunrayce and the American Solar Challenge every single time the event has been run, from the inaugural 1990 event onward.

Their Cruiser entry into WSC 2017 is the first time they have ever competed internationally; they're bringing a 4-seat car named Penumbra.

(image source)
(image source)

On the one hand, PrISUm is a quality team - they've done very well at ASC lately, finishing 2nd in 2012 and 3rd in 2014 (and 7th in 2016's "Rain Rayce", but dang that was a rough year for everyone). The car looks extremely well finished inside and out; it should place very highly on the practicality portion of the event. On the other hand, I really am not a fan of the rear end of Penumbra. I can't imagine that it will be able to come even close to matching the aerodynamic performance of Eindhoven or Bochum, and aero performance still matters a ton in the Cruiser class.

But I think the most important factor is how prepared this team appears to be: PrISUm was one of the first teams to unveiled their car, and they took the car on a 3-week driving tour of all 99 counties in Iowa way back in June. This is may be one of the best prepared cars and best trained teams in the Cruiser class this year, and that alone is probably enough to put them into the top five. I wouldn't be surprised if they managed a podium finish, especially if the next two cars I list have issues on the Stuart Highway.

(EDIT 9/29: See this comment chain for a discussion of their solar array; I hadn't realized that Iowa State fits significantly less than the allowed 5sqm of cells on the exterior of their car. I stand by my prediction that they'll likely finish in the top five, however)

UNSW

Like Bochum and Eindhoven, Sunswift has competed in both of the previous editions of the Cruiser class. They finished 3rd with their 2-seat eVe in 2013, and brought it back to finish 4th in 2015. This year, they've built a 4-seat car named Violet

(image source)

Violet is very sleek, and it looks like UNSW has really engineered it to compete for the victory under this year's Cruiser scoring formula, but the team really let the construction schedule come down to the wire. They were one of the last teams to unveil, and actually had to delay unveiling due to a suspension failure while testing the car. I have concerns about the readiness of both the car and the team, but I still think they have a better shot than most of ending up in the top five.

Lodz

This team from Poland was a rookie at WSC in 2015, and was unable to complete the entire route. However, they completed the most person-km of the Cruisers that didn't finish, and the construction of the car appeared to be high quality.

This year, Lodz is the only team other than Eindhoven to construct a 5-seat solar car.

(image source)

Eagle Two looks like a well constructed car, and I have suspicion that Lodz may do much better in their second attempt at WSC (similar to WSU's improvement from 2013 to 2015).

Other Cars

I waffled back and forth on this for a while when I was writing this blog, but I ended up only picking cars with more seats for my top five predictions. However, it's worth mentioning a few of the 2-seat cars:

Team Arrow did quite well in the Challenger class in 2013 and 2015, and has shifted to the Cruiser class this year. Their car Arrow STF looks hot; it probably would have done extremely well in the previous Cruiser class, but given how the regs changed for this year... I also have the same concerns that I have with UNSW: The car was unveiled extremely late, and I'm dubious of the amount of testing that has been done on both the car and team.

Minnesota is the fourth team that has competed in both previous editions of the Cruiser class, and they've struggled to finish the event both times. Their car Eos II is visually a massive step up in quality from Eos in 2015, but it's still a 2-seat car fielded under regulations that seem to heavily favor more seats. Also, while writing up this post I realized that despite being unveiled in early July, I couldn't find a single mention of test driving the car until their recent trek north from Melbourne to Darwin... so I have some doubts about how prepared the team and car are. They'll probably finish in the top half of the field, but given their competition this year, I won't be surprised if they end up bumped out of the top five.

Finally, I'm not quite sure what to expect from IVE. They struggled badly in 2015; only completing 896 person-km. The car this year appears to be a much better constructed car, but I don't know how much they've really improved. It's also only a 2-seat car...

Thursday, September 21, 2017

WSC 2017 Update: September 21st

Poking around on archive.org recently, I came across the "Top Ten Lies Told by Solar Car Teams" on the old Sunrayce website. Aaaand... Yep, 20 years later, I think the list is still pretty much right.

I also ran across this interesting Japanese website and accompanying Facebook page. The author noticed that Punch's car clearly couldn't fit a 4sqm silicon array at the time of unveiling (about a month and a half before I noticed), and had some interesting thoughts about Twente when they unveiled.

Scientific Gems has made two posts (1, 2) about Cruiser scoring this year - go check them out. Watch this space for a post about the Cruiser cars (and a little bit about scoring) early next week.

Location updates

In Darwin

  • Nuon, Punch, Twente, Blue Sky have all been in Darwin with their cars for over a week.  Nuon just received their battery
  • Eindhoven received their car and finally their battery. 
  • JU and Sonnenwagen Achen have both recently arrived and received their cars.
  • MDH team members are on the ground in Darwin, but no car yet.
  • Durham's advance team recently arrived in Darwin.
  • RVCE's car has cleared customs, and the team will arrive on Monday.

In the Outback

  • WSU, Stanford, Kogakuin, and Bochum are all testing/mock racing near Coober Pedy. We heard some very vague rumors about an incident with Kogakuin's car late on Wednesday the 20th.
  • Principia is somewhere in the middle of the outback - I think they're just trailering north rather than test driving.
  • UNSW is heading north, although I'm not sure if they're doing a test drive or on a trailer.
  • A reader has sent us some photos of Goko testing in the outback.

In South/East Australia

  • Michigan completed their mock race, and I believe they have returned to their base in Adelaide rather than continue north to Darwin (I could be wrong on this, however).
  • PrISUm is in Adeliade, preparing to drive north for some outback testing on the way to Darwin.
  • CUER has finally received Mirage in Adelaide after a lengthy delay at customs and quarantine in Melbourne.
  • Minnesota is still in Melbourne, waiting for the rest of the team to arrive and getting their car prepared to head north.
  • The Illini team has arrived in Melbourne and expect to pick their car up soon.
  • Portions of the ITU team are in Sydney and the car is waiting to clear customs in Melbourne.
  • Australian teams: Adelaide University hasn't posted anything about departing north to Darwin yet. ANU is still in Canberra, Flinders and TAFE SA have just recently unveiled and are still in Adelaide, and Team Arrow is still in Brisbane.
  • Antakari are evidently in Australia somewhere, perhaps Sydney.

Not yet in Australia

  • Shipped but not much other news: NIT, NWU, UiTM, Kookmin, SunSPEC, Lodz, Siam Tech, Apollo.
  • Uncertain if shipped, but completed car: Tokai, Neul-Hae-Rang, Mississippi Choctaw.
  • Shipped an incomplete car: Tehran.


Challenger Class

2: University of Michigan

Status: Team and car in Australia.

The team performed a mock race in the outback between September 9th and 15th, and it seems to have been a success. The team posted a bunch of photos to Flickr. A Facebook post states they have "returned", so I think they've backtracked to Adelaide rather than continued north to Darwin?

3: Nuon

Status: Team and car in Darwin!

The car has been in Australia for a while, and the team has finally received their battery, along with Eindhoven's. It looks like there's a fair amount of assembly yet to do.

4: Antakari

Status: Shipped. Antakari shipped Intikallpa IV to Australia on September 10th.

Apparently WSC has contact the WSC officials from Sydney at some point.

7: Adelaide University

Status: Unveiled. The team unveiled Lumen II on August 29th.

No news since then.

8: Punch Powertrain

Status: Team and car in Darwin!

Punch has started test driving at a local airstrip, which sounds like an adventure as the airstrip is apparently still active... Note Punch still hasn't put the real solar array on the top of the car and is using the fake/camouflage solar array to cover the top during test drive.

Interestingly, although the steel tube structure around the driver's head that I talked about here was indeed a temporary item, you can see in some photos that it has been replaced with a carbon element rather than omitted entirely. It's good to see some teams start to think about protecting the driver's head from front impacts.

10: Tokai

Status: Unveiled. The team unveiled the 2017 Tokai Challenger on August 29th.

I've seen it before, but I ran across Hideki Kimura's personal website again. He's posted a lot of detail of Tokai's 2017 car, including a very interesting photo of a catamaran design that it was evaluated against:

"Type A" Catamaran
"Type B" Monohull

Note that in the catamaran concept, the array didn't stick out sideways from the wheel fairings - very reminiscent of Nuon or NIT.

12: Cambridge University

Status: Team and car in Adelaide.

CUER has started their WSC 2017 blog.

After nearly a week of unexpected delays in customs and quarantine inspection, CUER has finally received Mirage. It sounds like the team still has a fair amount of work to do on the car... You can see the chassis and lower starting at 0:06 in this unpacking video.

15: WSU

Status: Testing in the outback near Coober Pedy.

WSU has spent the past week in the outback, testing Unlimited 2.0. They've been having fun with Bochum, and Stanford as well:


Dang, I miss the outback.

16: Stanford

Status: Testing in the outback near Coober Pedy.

Stanford has also been posting a few photos from their outback mock race, with a Bochum cameo included.

18: UiTM EcoPhoton

Status: Shipped. The team unveiled TUAH on September 9th, and shipped it to Australia on September 20th.

No other news this week.

20: Durham

Status: Car shipped, advance team in Darwin.

Durham shipped their car to Australia on July 18th. The advance team touched down in Darwin today, and the core team has already departed the UK.

21: Twente

Status: Team and car in Darwin!

A local Darwin news station shot a video with the team.

Of interest, there are some good detail shots of the inside of the car. I'm really not sure what was worth blurring out in their old video, I didn't see anything super secret... but maybe I'm just not looking right. I do see some curiously asymmetric bulkheads in the front of the car around 6 seconds in, but I suspect that's just for clearance around the members used to normalize the array. We can also see a cable/capstan steering mechanism, as seen on their 2015 car (and Punch's 2017 entry). The front suspension is a normal double-A-Arm, and it uses trailing arm suspension in the rear. If I'm not mistaken, it's a non-Akerman steering geometry up front...

The team also posted blogs on aerodynamics and structure.

22: MDH

Status: Team in Darwin, car shipped. 

The team shipped the car to Australia on September 11th. Team members have arrived in Darwin, although the car has not.

25: Nagoya Institute of Technology

Status: Shipped. NIT shipped Horizon 17 to Australia on August 9th.

I believe the team is preparing to depart.

28: Neul-Hae-Rang

Status: Unveiled. The team unveiled Woong-bi on June 25th.

No news since then.

32: Principia

Status: Team and car in the outback.

Principia is somewhere out in the middle of the outback. I believe they're bringing Ra X straight to Darwin on a trailer, rather than doing a mock race type testing event.

34: RVCE

Status: Car in Australia, team to follow soon.

The team says their crate has cleared customs, and the team will join it on Monday the 25th.

37: Goko High School

Status: Team and car in the outback.

A reader has sent us some photos of Goko testing in the outback.

If you poke back through the other photos, it looks like Goko had a front right suspension failure during testing at Suzuka around June 26th or 27th...

38: NWU

Status: Shipped. The team unveiled Naledi on August 22nd, and shipped it sometime around August 30th.

No news this week.

43: Australia National University

Status: Unveiled. 

The team unveiled their car on September 19th, and it's pretty clear that the team still has a ways to go before they have a functional car. I foresee many more sleepless nights between now and October 8th...

46: Jonkoping University

Status: Team and car in Darwin!

The Sonnenwagen team spotted Solveig's crate in Darwin on Friday, and JU said they'd be picking it up this past Monday. The team had some delays getting to Australia, but has finally arrived and picked up their car.

Sounds like the team is having fun.

70: Sonnenwagen Aachen

Status: Team and car in Darwin!

The team recently received their car and has started unpacking in Darwin.

71: Istanbul Technical University

Status: Part of the team in Sydney, car on the ground in Melbourne(?)

A portion of the team is currently in Sydney, and the rest of the team will arrive on the 27th. The team carried parts of their battery in their checked luggage - you can carry up to two batteries in checked luggage, each under 100Wh, so a typical solar car battery would need to be split into around 25 individual portions to be "shipped" this way.

It sounds like the car may be on Australia soil already, waiting to clear customs in Melbourne. Hopefully it clears faster than CUER's car did!


77: Blue Sky

Status: Team and car in Darwin!

The team has passed safety inspection and will be testing on the road very soon.

82: Kookmin University

Status: Shipped. The team shipped Taegeuk to Australia at the end of July.

No news since then.

88: Kogakuin University

Status: Testing in the outback near Coober Pedy.

The team departed north from Adelaide on the 18th, and plans to arrive in Darwin on the 25th.

They've been posting tons of photos and a video to Twitter, as well as a video on Facebook and a blog post.

We heard a rumor through the Bochum-Stanford-WSU grapevine that Kogakuin may have had an accident late on the 20th. The last time they posted to Twitter was around 3:47pm on the 20th, Coober Pedy time, and after two busy days of social media, the team was silent throughout 21st. Internet access is really spotty in the outback, but I don't think sudden silence + crash rumors is a good sign.

Cruiser Class

5: SunSPEC

Status: Car shipped, some team members in Australia.

SunSPEC 5 was shipped to Darwin on September 5th, and a portion of the team departed for Adelaide on the 19th. I assume they're picking up rental vehicles in Adelaide and road tripping up to meet the car in Darwin (round-trip rentals are generally cheaper than one-way).

9: PrISUm

Status: Team and car in Adelaide, preparing to head north.

PrISUm unloaded Penumbra into a workspace in Adelaide early this week. They've visited Victoria Square with the car and met with WSC officials, and are preparing for a 7-day test in the outback around Coober Pedy.

11: Hochschule Bochum

Status: Testing in the outback near Coober Pedy.

After some shipping drama, Blue.Cruiser finally arrived in Coober Pedy about a week ago. After some preparation and inspection, the team started driving a few days ago. They've published a great video overview of the past week.

14: Flinders

Status: Unveiled. The team unveiled Investigator Mark III on September 11th.

I believe the team is preparing to leave for Darwin extremely soon.

23: University of Tehran

Status: Shipped an incomplete car.

In a comment on the WSC discussion group on Facebook, a member from Tehran stated that the car was shipped in an incomplete state, and the team intends to meet it in Darwin on September 28th.

This is the most-complete photo of the car that they have posted. If that's really the current state of the car, they have an absolutely massive amount of work to complete in the few days before inspection starts...

30: Team Arrow

Status: Unveiled!

With about one day's notice, Team Arrow unveiled Arrow STF today. There's a good video here.

(image source)

It's a two seater with a cut silicon array. My first impression is that it looks like a much more refined version of UNSW's eVe, and that it looks like it would have done really well in 2013 or 2015, but I'm a little dubious of how high 2-seaters will score under the 2017 Cruiser regulations.

35: IVE Sophie

Status: Shipped. IVE shipped Sophie VI out to Australia on August 28th.

No news this week.

40: Eindhoven

Status: Team, car, and batteries all in Darwin!

Eindhoven finally received both the car and their batteries in Darwin at the start of the week. Look at how happy they look! This has to be a huge relief for them. No time to rest, though...

42: TAFE SA

Status: Unveiled!

TAFE SA unveiled their "Solar Articulated Vehicle" yesterday.

(image source)
Interesting door mechanism
(image source)
Cargo area in the back; almost a solar 'ute
(image source)

45: Lodz

Status: Shipped. The team shipped Eagle Two to Australia on July 17th.

Lodz has been doing some team bonding. No news on the car - last we heard, it had made it to Singapore around the end of August.

49: Siam Tech

Status: Car shipped, team to depart soon. 

Siam Tech shipped Nikola on September 6th. The team should be departing extremely soon.

75: UNSW Sunswift

Status: Unveiled, heading north. 

Due to an accident while testing, the team delayed unveiling from September 14th to the 22nd. However, it sounds like repairs went quicker than expected and the team elected to stick to their original schedule and depart on Wednesday, rather than sticking around until the new Friday unveiling.

The team posted a video of some track testing. As expected from the teaser images, Violet is a long, sleek, 4-door, 4-seat car:

(image source, 0:55)

This article also has some decent photos and information. Note that they claim it has fucntional air conditioning...

94: University of Minnesota

Status: Car and partial team in Melbourne.

Some team members have been in Melbourne for a few days, and they are preparing Eos II for the drive north to Adelaide while waiting for the rest of the team to arrive.

The team posted an album of motor construction photos to Flickr.

95: Apollo

Status: Shipped. The team shipped Apollo VIII to Adelaide on August 23rd.

The team appears to be preparing to depart.

Adventure Class

52: Illini Solar Car

Status: Team in Melbourne, car waiting to clear customs.

Most of the team has arrived in Melbourne, and they expect to pick up Argo soon.

53: Mississippi Choctaw High School

No news this week.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

WSC 2017 Update: September 14th

It's been two weeks since we did a full team update, and a lot has happened. Teams are starting to arrive; here's a really brief overview of where teams are at in Australia

Nuon, Punch, Twente, and Blue Sky are all already in Darwin with their cars. The Sonnenwagen Achen and Eindhoven teams are also in Darwin; both teams are waiting for their cars to arrive from elsewhere in Australia.

Michigan and WSU are doing their own mock races in the outback, and should be arriving in Darwin relatively soon. Stanford has received their car in Adelaide and is planning their own mock race for the drive north. The Principia team received their car and is heading north to Darwin as well.

Bochum received their crate of equipment and the solar car battery in Sydney, and is currently heading north along the Stuart Highway. I don't think they have received Blue.Cruiser yet, however.

CUER in Adelaide, waiting for car to clear quarantine in Melbourne.

PrISUm's car is in Sydney, team will arrive over the weekend.

Some part of the Minnesota team has arrive in Melbourn, but I haven't heard any news about the car yet.

Challenger Class

2: University of Michigan

Status: Team and car in Australia! The team and Novum arrived in Adelaide around September 1st.

Michigan arrived and settled into their workspace in Adelaide. In this post about cooking (not a small matter! An army marches on it's stomach...), we learned that the team planned a mock race Sept 9-15 in the Outback between Glendambo and the Northern Territory border. They're out there right now, but must nearly be done. Expect them in Darwin soon.

3: Nuon

Status: Team and car in Darwin!

Last week Nuon received their car in Darwin, but the team had some issues shipping their battery. It sounds like these issues got ironed out on Monday, and the team will receive their battery very soon.

4: Antakari

Status: Shipped.

Antakari shipped Intikallpa IV to Australia on September 10th.

7: Adelaide University

Status: Unveiled (and in Australia already). The team unveiled Lumen II on August 29th.

No news since then.

8: Punch Powertrain

Status: Team and car in Darwin!

Punch is setting up shop in Darwin and putting the finishing touches on Punch Two.

10: Tokai

Status: Unveiled. The team unveiled the 2017 Tokai Challenger on August 29th.

The team has been testing at Bridgestone's proving ground.

12: Cambridge University

Status: Team in Australia, car in transit.

CUER has started their WSC 2017 blog. Team members started arriving in Adelaide around September 7th, and they're planning to depart north for Darwin around the 20th, which will place them in Darwin around the 25th.

Mirage has landed in Melbourne and cleared customs, although as of the 13th it still hadn't cleared quarantine.

15: WSU

Status: Heading north, about to start mock race.

WSU is about to start their mock race in the Coober Pedy area.

16: Stanford

Status: Team and car in Adelaide.

The Stanford team is in Adelaide with their car, and is planning some race training in the outback on the way north to Darwin.

18: UiTM EcoPhoton

Status: Unveiled!

The team unveiled TUAH on September 9th.

(image source)

It looks pretty much like the car they brought to the last WSC, except white instead of silver/chrome. The same cut-silicon array, too.

Given what happened last time, uh, maybe go easy on the smoke machine? Just a thought.

20: Durham

Status: Shipped. Durham shipped their car to Australia on July 18th.

No news since then.

21: Twente

Status: Team and car in Darwin!

Red Shift was supposed to arrive in Darwin on Sept 1st, but encountered shipping delays. Fortunately, the car cleared customs in Sydney and arrived in Darwin on the 7th.

Note in this unpacking photo that there's not array on the (visible) upper at the moment - we haven't actually seen Twente's array yet; it didn't have one installed when any of the testing photos were taken.

The team is doing a one-by-one driver reveal on Twitter, which is kind of neat, but I just can't look away from those weirdo boots. I can't imagine them driving the car with boots on (they simply wouldn't have fit in the solar cars that I drove back in the day), so those are special photo shoot boots, which only raises more questions...?

These details are the kind of weird shit my mind latches on to. I am so sorry.

22: MDH

Status: Shipped.

The team shipped the car to Australia on September 11th.

25: Nagoya Institute of Technology

Status: Shipped. NIT shipped Horizon 17 to Australia on August 9th.

No news since then.

28: Neul-Hae-Rang

Status: Unveiled. The team unveiled Woong-bi on June 25th.

No news since then.

32: Principia

Status: In Australia!

The team tweeted that they have taken possession of the car in Australia, and are preparing to head north (from wherever they are in AU) to Darwin.

34: RVCE

Status: Unveiled. The team unveiled Arka on August 5th.

No news since then.

37: Goko High School

Status: Car Complete. We've seen several photos of the completed 2017 Musoushin.

No social media, so we're not gonna know any more unless we get tips from teams in Australia that have seen them.

38: NWU

Status: Shipped. The team unveiled Naledi on August 22nd, and shipped it sometime around August 30th.

No news since then, although they've been posting headshots of each team member to social media.

43: Australia National University

Status: Unveiling Scheduled. A team member mentioned in a Facebook comment that they are planning to launch the car on September 19th

It sounds like it's really coming down to the wire for these folks. They've started posting some stuff to social media, like this relatively finished chassis, and their chassis lead feeling some schedule pressure. They're also discovering some last-minute electrical issues.

The team plans to head north to Darwin around September 24th, and acknowledge that it's going to be a scramble to get the car done in time. Good luck, folks...

46: Jonkoping University

Status: Shipped. The team shipped Solveig on August 30th.

The team posted some new photos from prior test driving to their blog. They're also going to have live tracking during the race.

70: Sonnenwagen Aachen

Status: Team in Darwin, car in Australia!

Huawei Sonnenwagen touched down in Sydney on September 9th.

Some team members are in Darwin, and they expect to have the car through customs and quarantine and delivered to Darwin by the middle of next week.

71: Istanbul Technical University

Status: Unveiled, Shipped(?). The team unveiled B.O.W (Bees On Wheels) on August 9th. A crate construction photo was posted on August 30th, but the team never confirmed when the car actually shipped

The team has been relatively quiet - the last photos of the car were posted on Sept 2nd and 5th. The team may be having issues shipping the car and batteries, or they may just be trying to plan contingencies in case of issues. Hard to tell.

77: Blue Sky

Status: Team and car in Darwin!
Blue Sky picked up Polaris in Melbourne on the 7th, arrived in Darwin on the 10th, and are settling into their workshop.

82: Kookmin University

Status: Shipped. The team shipped Taegeuk to Australia at the end of July.

No news since then.

88: Kogakuin University

Status:  Shipped. The team shipped Wing to Adelaide on July 31st.

Last week, Bridgestone posted a video about the team and the car. Real nice drone shot at 0:24!

The team has published a schedule for WSC detailing that the team depart north from Adelaide on the 18th, and arrive in Darwin on the 25th.

Kogakuin also posted some photos of their custom power trackers.

Cruiser Class

5: SunSPEC

Status: Shipped. Singapore Polytechnic shipped SunSPEC 5 to Australia on September 5th.

SunSPEC also posted a short test drive video.

9: PrISUm

Status: Car in Australia! Team to follow soon.

Iowa State shipped Penumbra on September 2nd, and it landed in Sydney on the 8th, followed by the batteries in Melbourne on the 10th. The team is due to follow on the 16th.

It sounds like everything has cleared customs and quarantine smoothly, and is just waiting to be picked up.

11: Hochschule Bochum

Status: Team in Australia, car coming soon?

Last week in Sydeny Bochum received their crate that contains everything except the car. At the time, Blue.Cruiser was still in Kuala Lumpur. It sounds like they expect to receive the car by the end of the week. Currently, different portions of the team have met up in Coober Pedy.

14: Flinders

Status: Unveiled! The team unveiled Investigator Mark III on September 11th.

(image source)

It's apparently a three seat car. It's not quite done yet (the interior is a little spartan) and they acknowledge that it's "down a little bit to the wire", but it looks like they're close...

It's really bothering me that I can't place the headlights. I got a real R34 Skyline vibe from the front, but those are't quite the right headlights.

23: University of Tehran

Status: L A M B O D O O R S

I'm really worried that we won't see Persian Gazelle make it to WSC this year; they're rapidly running out of time to ship and it looks like they have a lot of work left to do.

30: Team Arrow

Status: ?????

35: IVE Sophie

Status: Shipped. IVE shipped Sophie VI out to Australia on August 28th.

No news this week.

40: Eindhoven

Status: Team in Australia, car and battery soon.

The team shipped Stella Vie to Australia on August 19th. The initially had some issues with the car AND the battery shipments, but it sounds like the car is on the ground in Australia and the battery is too.

The team has already made the drive from Adelaide to Darwin and is waiting for their shipments to meet them there.

42: TAFE SA

It looks like the team has a pretty long ways to go to finish the car.

45: Lodz

Status: Shipped. The team shipped Eagle Two to Australia on July 17th.

No news since the last shipment update on August 20th, although there was a team member wedding on the 2nd, featuring Eagle One.

49: Siam Tech

Status: Shipped.

Siam Tech shipped Nikola on September 6th.

75: UNSW Sunswift

Status: Unveiling scheduled. 

The unveiling was scheduled for today (the 14th), but has been pushed back to the 22nd due to an accident while testing. The left front suspension failed during a high-speed brake test with car fully loaded with 4 occupants, causing it to skid for quite some distance on its belly. Fortunately it sounds like damage to the car is reparable, and no one was injured.

94: University of Minnesota

Status: Car shipped, some race crew in Melbourne.

The team shipped Eos II out to Australia over the last weekend in July, and the first team members have arrived in Australia.

95: Apollo

Status: Shipped. The team shipped Apollo VIII to Adelaide on August 23rd.

No news since then.

Adventure Class

52: Illini Solar Car

Status: Shipped. The team shipped Argo out to Australia at the start of August.

No news since then.

53: Mississippi Choctaw High School

No news this week.