Motor on: how we helped power the World Solar Challenge

By Nicholas Kachel

30 October 2015

2 minute read

Burning rubber, but reducing emissions.

Burning rubber, but reducing emissions. Image credit World Solar Challenge.

The World Solar Challenge wrapped up in Adelaide last weekend. It’s a massive race featuring the cutting-edge of solar-powered vehicles from across the world. The Challenge is designed to showcase the development of advanced automotive technology and promote alternatives to conventional vehicle engines.

Beginning in Darwin, teams embark on 3,000km journey through the centre of Australia, from north to south, in vehicles that are travelling at averages of well over 100km/h and using no more than 6 square metres of solar panels as a power source. Here’s some highlights from the eight days of competition.

The Challenge is an excellent showcase of some of the technologies that will shape the future of sustainable transport around the globe – and a bloody impressive feat of endurance for those involved. Many of the huge improvements in solar conversion, battery technology, and low rolling resistance tyres the vehicles use are finding their way into the next generation of automobiles.

But what’s most exciting for us is that a large contingent of the World Solar Challenge contestants were using a super-efficient motor that we helped design. In fact, all three category winners, and 8 of the top ten winners in the Challenger Class alone, used our motor (you can check out the World Solar Challenge website for a full list of winners).

The in-wheel motor, as its known, weighs only six kilos and can achieve 98 per cent efficiency: generally accepted as the most efficient in solar car racing. It has since been commercialised by Marand Precision Engineering in Melbourne.

We’re now working with Marand to further develop the technology for a number of new applications, and to keep up with a rapidly growing global demand.

In the meantime, we’d like to congratulate all of the contestants in this year’s race, as well as the team at the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge for their ongoing work.

Want to find out more about our work in energy and renewables? Then motor on over to our website.