READY, SET, SUNSHINE! The 2014 Sasol Solar Challenge starts on September 27 in Pretoria and will end in Cape Town on Oct 4. Image: Sasol
PRETORIA - The Sasol Solar Challenge South Africa 2014 is the local leg of an international event that has been eclipsing the world of motorsports and science.
Universities from around the world design and build solar-powered cars which they race. This year the event is hosting eight domestic and three international teams, including the current world champions: Nuna (Delft University, Netherlands).
The 2014 solar challenge will start on September 27 and end on October 4. A 2000km-long route to be completed over eight days, about 250km a day, with an optional loop for each day to add as much distance as possible.
VIDEO PREVIEW: 2014 Sasol Solar Challenge
The loops are from 50km to more than 100km long and can be driven as many times as required. The result is a distance race instead of a speed race; the team which covers the greatest distance in eight days and manages to complete all stages, wins.
The route contains some steep hills. Some teams may want to drive 500km to 700km a day, completing about 6000km over the race period.
The eco-efficiency challenge allows teams from around the world to come together in South Africa to participate and demonstrate the sophistication and performance of solar-powered vehicles. The purpose of the event is to promote research into sustainable transport, showcase technologies and present a platform for participants and the public to engage.
The event, says organisers, will provide South Africa with a platform on which the skill of building cars locally can be exercised. This will result in an increased level of knowledge in the industry about electric motors, battery systems, vehicle aerodynamics and solar panels.
The solar challenge operates under the auspices of the International Automobile Federation and Motorsport SA. There are four classes: Olympia, Adventure, Cruiser and Sustainability Fleet.
• Olympia Class: The primary class and the main competitive class for solar-electric vehicles. These cars must be four wheelers and cannot be recharged via plug-in. This car is designed primarily for efficiency rather than for comfort or practicality. The winner of this class is the solar car that covered the most distance during the race.
• Adventure Class: For any other solar-electric vehicles that have been allowed in any previous international solar challenges or other major events but do not necessarily conform to the Olympia Class regulation. Again, no plug-in recharging is allowed. The winner of this class is the solar car that covered the most distance during the race.
• Category IIIA: Commercial electric vehicles. This section of the event will be the first time a 100% EV Regularity Rally in South Africa.
WHERE CAN YOU SEE THE CARS?
Sept 25 - Scrutineering: Zwartkops Raceway, Pretoria 8am-5pm
Sept 26 - Dynamic scrutineering: Zwartkops, Pretoria 8am-4pm
Sept 27 - Day Start: CSIR, Meiring Naude Str Pretoria 6.30am-8am
Sept 27 - End of Day Stage: Rooiskool, Du Toit Str, Kroonstad 3pm-6.30pm
Sep 28 - End of Day Stage: Kopano Nokeng Country Lodge, Bloemfontein 3pm-6.30pm
Sept 30 - End of Day Stage: Volkskool, Plasket Str, Graaff-Reinet 3pm-6.30pm
Oct 1 - End of Day Stage: Kings Beach, Beach Rd, Port Elizabeth 3pm-6.30pm
Oct 2 - End of Day Stage: Loeriepark, George Rex Dr, Knysna 3pm-6.30pm
Oct 3 - End of Day Stage: Show Grounds, Cooper Str, Swellendam 3pm-6.30pm
Oct 4 - End of Race: UCT, Rhodes Dr, Cape Town 2pm - 5:30pm
Click here for a full event schedule.
Here's sneak peek: Click on the gif below to view the clip