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16/01/2015
by Jeroen Haringman
4 Comments

2015 Abu Dhabi Solar Challenge – first road day

Today was the first road day of the 2015 Abu Dhabi Solar Challenge. After the start (see video below) the team made their way through the city of Abu Dhabi. After exiting the city, the teams followed motorway E22 to the city of Al Ain, in the east of the UAE. There, the teams made a 15-minute stop, before continuing back to Abu Dhabi, this time on the E20 motorway, to the end point at Masdar City.

Preparations for the start

Final preparations for the start

I got up early to make it to the 08:00 start on time, and saw the cars prepare and get into position. There was a very special atmosphere there this morning, one of excitement, determination and I also felt a sense of relief. So far, everything until now, difficult as it had been for some, had been ‘just’ preparation – and this was it, this was the real thing. Continue Reading →

16/01/2015
by Jeroen Haringman
7 Comments

2015 Abu Dhabi Solar Challenge – live team tracking

Click image to go to live tracking

Click image to go to live tracking

During the three road days of the Abu Dhabi Solar Challenge, the solar cars carry GPS transponders, and their position is plotted live on a map. This should allow everyone to follow the team’s progress. Click the image on the right to go the map. It will be possible to manually scroll to the UAE, or, alternatively, you can search for team name/team number.

15/01/2015
by Jeroen Haringman
2 Comments

2015 Abu Dhabi Solar Challenge – Qualifying day

abu_dhabi_solar_challenge_logoToday, the teams drove the qualification on the Yas Marinas Circuit in Abu Dhabi. Each car had to drive a minimum of 250 km, and each driver had to drive a minimum of 50 km. Most teams managed to achieve these minimums, except for three. Surprisingly, Tokai University got stuck just below the minimum when their motor overheated and was damaged. Team Okinawa had damaged their motor controller computer yesterday, and were only able to start around noon. The Illinois team didn’t make the minimums because they had problems with their solar array.

2015_ADSC_qualification

SOCRAT drove the most laps (81), followed by Punch Powertrain Solar Team (79) and the University of Michigan (77). So, quite close together in the top three.

During the evening team meeting, it was announced that all teams would start in the road event tomorrow, and all got issued the official UAE licence plates. The three teams that did not qualify will have to enter discussions with race officials tonight, so I can imagine some sort of penalty being imposed.

Tomorrow

Tomorrow (January 16th) will be the first road day of the event. The solar cars will start from the Yas Marina Circuit, make their way through the city of Abu Dhbai, and then drive to the UAE University in Al Ain. From there, the teams will return to the Abu Dhabi region, where the event day will end at Masdar City. In total, a distance of 366 km is to be covered, in a maximum of eight hours. As the sun is less than 45° above the horizon in this time of the year, the solar arrays on the cars will not collect as much solar energy as, for instance, in Australia in October. This, combined with the relatively short distance, means that the car’s batteries will play a relatively large role in this event, and the solar arrays less so.

I don’t have a solid plan yet for how I will cover tomorrow’s events. Of course, I’ll make sure I’ll be present for the start and post plenty of photos to the social media. I’ll probably shoot some video of the start as well, but I won’t be able to post that until at least the evening. After that, the solar cars will travel through the city. I am not going to do that, I’ll probably wait for them where the route exits the city, to get some photos and perhaps video. After the first few teams have passed, I’ll probably make my way to the UAE University to wait for the teams there.

Of course, I won’t be able to post anything while I’m driving, so expect fewer updates on the social media than today :)

14/01/2015
by Jeroen Haringman
0 comments

2015 Abu Dhabi Solar Challenge – third scrutineering day

abu_dhabi_solar_challenge_logoToday was my first full day in Abu Dhabi, just in time to attend the third and last day of scrutineering. Those of you who have followed my Twitter account (no account of your own needed) will have an idea how I experienced the day. I’m going to keep this article short, because I need to sleep as tomorrow the (qualification) day will start early.

Qualification will take the form of an entire day of track racing. It will start at 09:00 and end at 17:00. The team that will have covered the most laps will start first on Friday. At the end of the qualification day, the teams can fully recharge their batteries from the grid – so they’ll start the 1100 km road event with full batteries.

I can say that today was an awesome day. I met up with all the teams, it was good to see the teams again I had met earlier during the ESC, and also very good to meet the teams I had never seen in real life before. Against the background of my first day in a country so far from home, this has filled me with many more impressions than I can quickly write down. I’m sure I’ll write down a few follow-up posts after the event, and maybe I’ll get one or two done during the event – but your best bet for up to date information is the Twitter account.