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04/08/2014
by Jeroen Haringman
2 Comments

Is this the second golden age of solar car racing?

A guest blog post written by Dr Graham Doig of UNSW Australia, as Sunswift waits for the fog to clear from the track so they can start their attempt to break a long-standing international speed record for the fastest long-range electric car.

Sunswift_logoAs someone who’s been inside and out of solar car racing for the last 9 years, first as a student working on aerodynamics and now as the academic adviser of UNSW Australia’s long-running Sunswift team, I think nothing has re-invigorated interest in these types of cars like the Cruiser Class at the last World Solar Challenge – brought in, effectively, off the back of the amazing work by the Bochum team over the years to pioneer the “practical” solar car. Continue Reading →

24/07/2014
by Jeroen Haringman
0 comments

Guest blog: Simulating the World Solar Challenge

The following post is republished from Tony Dekker’s excellent blog Scientific Gems:

Inspired by the recent guest post by Georg Russ, I have built a (very simplistic) simulation of the World Solar Challenge as a NetLogo program. The program and associated map file can be downloaded here.

The image below shows a snapshot of the simulation (in which I have completely ignored control stops). There are three graphs on the left. The first graph plots energy from the solar panels (following the discussion by Georg Russ). The second graph plots the speed of Car 1 (the blue car, running at 75 km/h) as well as the battery state (as a percentage of full charge).

The third graph (in the style of my race charts for WSC 2013) plots distance from Darwin on the horizontal axis with time (relative to an 80 km/h baseline speed) on the vertical axis. In other words, a vertical position of 1 hour means that a car is running 1 hour behind the baseline speed. A steady 80 km/h speed would thus be indicated by a horizontal line, with faster speeds sloping downwards and slower speeds sloping upwards. The graph shows that Car 3 (pink) has been running ahead of the baseline speed, but only by draining its battery. A close examination of the graph shows that Car 3 has already been forced to slow down. This highlights the need to strategically choose car speed, for the reasons discussed by Georg Russ.

solarinterface1

The afternoon of Day 1: Car 3 (pink) is leading, but has started to slow because of a drained battery (click to zoom)

For a video of the running simulation, see here. Continue Reading →

25/06/2014
by Jeroen Haringman
3 Comments

Down time

twinsAs some of you who also follow my personal Facebook page may know, my household has recently been expanded with two beautiful twin boys. Before they arrived, people warned me there were busy times ahead. Even though I took their warnings seriously, I didn’t realise just how busy the times would become – apparently an often-made mistake by new parents. (People also told me what a great and love-filled time this would be – and they were also more right about that than I ever imagined!) Continue Reading →

09/06/2014
by Jeroen Haringman
14 Comments

Guest blog: Cruising ahead

World_Solar_Challenge_logoAs a follow-up to yesterday’s post about the 2015 World Solar Challenge regulation changes, here’s an excellent guest blog post by Nigel. Regular visitors of this website may recognise him as a very regular commenter, and he also supplies me with a steady stream of links to interesting solar racing news. I’m starting to think he spends as much time on this as I do :)

Please read on for a very interesting look at the new Cruiser class regulations: Continue Reading →

08/06/2014
by Jeroen Haringman
10 Comments

2015 World Solar Challenge regulations

World_Solar_Challenge_logoA few days ago, the organisers of the World Solar Challenge published (the first version of) the regulations for the 2015 event (PDF here). Let’s go through some of the changes I could find. I’m using the current version (“Release version 0.9″) of the 2015 regulations and this version of the 2013 regulations.

Let’s start with the points that are mentioned on the third page of the 2015 document:

Continue Reading →