This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

September 28, 2005

Netherlands' Nuon Solar Team Leads the World Solar Challenge

Photo of the Nuna 3, a very low, flat, rectangular car, its top covered with solar cells, on a road with flat dry grasslands in the background.

The Nuon Solar Team's "Nuna 3" on the road in Australia.
Credit: Nuon Solar Team

The Nuon Solar Team from the Netherlands has taken a commanding lead in the World Solar Challenge, a 1,870-mile solar race down the center of the Australian continent. On Tuesday, after three days of racing, the team's car, the "Nuna 3," was at Glendambo, a little more than 300 miles from Adelaide. Australia's Aurora Vehicle Association trails about 100 miles behind the Nuna 3, followed closely by the University of Michigan's "Momentum" and Ashiya University of Japan's "Sky Ace Tiga," in a tight battle for second, third, and fourth place. If the Nuon team continues to hold the lead, it will be their third consecutive win. In 2003, the team set a record time of 30 hours and 54 minutes, for an average speed of about 60 miles per hour. Since the race may already be decided by the time you read this, see the latest standings and reports from the road in the "On the Road" section of the World Solar Challenge Web site.

A total of 22 teams from 10 countries are currently in the race, including three teams from the United States. Probably the most dramatic event in the race occurred during the qualifying rounds, when a wheel failed on the vehicle from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, causing it to flip over. Fortunately, the driver walked away with only a sprained wrist, and the team was able to fix the vehicle and remain in the race. See MIT's Web page and the September 24th entry in the University of Calgary's Weblog, both of which are posted on the World Solar Challenge Web site.