Written by on 18/10/2023

The Bridgestone World Solar Challenge (BWSC) is the world’s premier solar-powered car race where young engineers from all over the world compete with their self-designed solar cars.

They travel over 3,000 kilometres from Darwin to Adelaide over five days and at CDU an international team of students from Saxion University of Applied Sciences and the University of Twente in the Netherlands is making last minute adjustments to their solar car entry, Red X, entered in the Challenger Class.

Hailing from the Dutch town of Enschede, Solar Team Twente have made a trades workshop at CDU their base for the last month to prepare their version of the most efficient solar car for the challenge which kicks off this Sunday, the 22nd October from State Square, Parliament House Darwin.

RED X was designed and constructed over 10 months, the bullet shaped car has three wheels, four square metres of solar panels and weighs only 140 kilograms.

At five metres long and 1.2 metres wide, the aerodynamic design ensures the car has a similar air resistance as a bottle of Coke, and it also has a top speed of 130 kilometres per hour.

The World Solar Challenge started in 1987, five years after solar pioneers Hans Tholstrup and Larry Perkins drove their home-built solar car, Quiet Achiever across Australia from west to east. The Challenge is now supported and sponsored by Bridgestone and takes place every two years, bringing together great minds from around the world to Australia to push the limits of technological innovation in the field.

Once the teams have left Darwin, they must travel as far as they can until 5:00pm in the afternoon where they make camp in the desert wherever they happen to be which means all teams must be fully self-sufficient and it’s a great adventure for everyone participating, some go as far to say the “adventure of a lifetime”.

During the journey there are 9 mandatory checkpoints where team managers can get updated on the latest weather information, their position in the field and they can perform only very basic maintenance like checking tyre pressure and cleaning debris from their vehicles.


Participating teams enter their vehicle into one of the following three classes:

THE CHALLENGER CLASS is conducted in a single stage from Darwin to Adelaide.
THE CRUISER CLASS is conducted as 3 x 1,200km stages without recharging.
THE ADVENTURE CLASS is a non-competitive class which provides opportunity for cars built for previous events.

For more information on the event and to view the full Darwin program visit: worldsolarchallenge.org

Article compiled from various sources including CDU.edu.au and the World Solar Challenge. RED X Image courtesy of CDU, other images courtesy of worldsolarchallenge.org

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