The Dutch have dominated this year’s 2013 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge. Having already won the elite Schneider Electric Challenger Class title when team Nuon crossed the line first on Thursday, Team Eindhoven made it two from two winning the Michelin Cruiser Class category announced at the Awards Ceremony in Adelaide on Sunday night.
With a score of 97.5% to Eindhoven it was perhaps closer than the Dutch had predicted, with Germany’s Hochschule Bochum team a close second on 93.9%, in turn just beating Australia’s UNSW Sunswift team, who scored 92.3% taking third place.
The Michelin Cruiser class was judged on the key criteria of solar kilometres travelled, passenger kilometres, speed, energy efficiency, and a subjective element of design and practicality.
Of the eight Cruisers built especially for the Australian event, four completed the 3020 kilometres on full solar power, the University of Minnesota from the USA joining the ranks with the Dutch, German and Australian teams, taking out fourth place with 79.2%.
Each of the top teams had differing strategic approaches to the contest. Eindhoven being a four seater car easily accounted for the most passenger kilometres; Bochum were the most energy efficient, and UNSW Sunswift were the fastest to the finish line.
Final judging occurred on Saturday afternoon with the expert panel assessing characteristics such as: ease of access, comfort, controls, features, style, ease of charging, overall desirability, road registration, parking and cargo space. Judges put the cars through their paces on the finish line. Teams were tested for their parking skills, their ability to load the trunk with numerous suitcases and the ultimate cargo test – could the Aussie esky also be stowed the right way up in the trunk?
The judging panel spent hours deliberating final scores with the topl three cruisers all shining in their own right. Team Bochum’s Powercore Suncruiser scored high on accessibility and desirability and Sunswift’s ‘eVe’ was the most stylish. In the end it came down to just five points between the three top teams with the world’s first four seater solar family car , ‘Stella’ taking the honours.
The remaining four cruisers completed the Challenge with a combination of solar kilometres and trailer kilometres: Goko High School from Japan (2288 km); Apollo Taiwan (1558); Australia’s TAFE SA (1469) and University of Calgary (719).
The Bridgestone World Solar Challenge started October 6th in Darwin and finished 3,000 km later on Sunday 13th October in Adelaide.
Disclosure: EV News has been engaged by the South Australian Motor Sport Board to help promote the World Solar Challenge 2013.