Team Eindhoven Wins World Solar Challenge Again

World Solar Challenge

In one of the most closely fought contests on record, the Dutch have dominated this year’s 2015 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge. Having already won the Schneider Electric Challenger Class title when team Nuon crossed the line first on Thursday, just ahead of compatriot team Twente, it was team Team Eindhoven’s turn to shine. They achieved a back to back win of the Cruiser Class category. 

With Eindhoven’s score of 97.77%,  it came down to the wire with their four seater family car ‘Stella Lux’ just edging ahead of Japan’s Kogakuin in ‘Owl’ on 93.92%. Germany’s HS Bochum team and their sleek sports coupe ‘SunRiser’ scored 83.39% and Australia’s UNSW Sunswift team scored 73.23 % in their sports car ‘eVe’ taking fourth place. The University of Minnesota from the USA joined the ranks with the Dutch, German, Japanese and Australian teams, taking out fifth place with 68.44%.
The Cruiser class was introduced in 2013 to bridge the gap between high end technology and everyday driving practicality. It 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 12 Cruisers built especially for the Australian event, five completed the 3022 kilometres on full solar power. Each of the top teams had differing strategic approaches with their cars designed to appeal to varied consumer markets. Of the top three, Eindhoven easily accounted for the most passenger kilometres; Kogakuin were fastest to the finish line, and Bochum were the leaders in style.

Final judging occurred on Saturday afternoon. James Harris and Jay Manley from Tesla and Seven Adelaide reporter, Jayne Stinson, took a consumer focus assessing characteristics such as: ease of access; comfort; controls; features; style; 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, handbrake starts and their ability to load the trunk.

The judging panel spent hours deliberating final scores with the top cruisers all shining in their own right.  Just one point separated Eindhoven and Bochum in the practicality judging.

Event Director Chris Selwood said that after more than 3,000 kilometres it was fitting, in a category that was intended to bridge the gap between technology and driving practicality, that the results would come down to consumer appeal and practical design.

‘I congratulate Team Eindhoven on their innovation, practical design with the every-day driver in mind and interior style. ‘Stella Lux’ is a wonderful solar car in a field of exceptional cars and teams.I look forward to 2017 and the prospect of more cruisers being road registered, as we work toward the world’s most efficient electric car,” Chris said.

The awards were streamed live with teams’ home countries tuning into the results.

The Awards Ceremony also recognised first time Polish team for the Safety Award and Team Twente from the Netherlands for the Innovation Award.

Earlier in the day Adelaide turned on the sun to farewell all teams as their solar cars made a final parade through the city streets.

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This post was prepared by Solar Thermal Magazine staff.

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