back to article Solar car teams bask in Darwin sunshine

The El Reg's elite Special Projects Bureau team touched down in a very hot and sticky Darwin yesterday, as teams challenging for the World Solar Challenge crown prepared their vehicles to face the vast interior of Oz. No sooner had we set foot on the Lucky Country in Brisbane on Thursday, than we were treated to the …


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  1. nyelvmark

    Where's the LOHAN connection? Or even the Lohan connection?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      its called a research junke- er i mean trip :)

    2. TeeCee Gold badge

      Lohan connection?

      She wouldn't turn down a free junket to go on the lash in Oz either......

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Plucky Brits"?

    Sounds more like Whinging Poms...!

  3. Doug Burbidge

    > as tight as their vehicle's cockpit

    That cockpit actually looks quite roomy: his legs are apart, his knees are not much higher than his hips, the bubble looks like there's room to turn his head.

    The really interesting thing this challenge will be: will it be won by a car with a conventional flat solar array, or will it be won by a car which has part of its array fed by solar concentrators? There's 9-ish square meters of available surface on a 1.8m x 5m car, but the rules only allow 6 square metres of cells. But they _do_ allow you to use concentrators, such as Fresnel lenses or parabolic reflectors to focus that extra 3 square metres of sun onto a very small area of gallium arsenide cells.

  4. Martin Budden

    The Michigan trailer actually contains, as some other rivals suspect, huge quantities of AA batteries.

    1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson

      And under the hood of the solar car

      are hundreds of duracel bunnies

    2. BristolBachelor Gold badge

      I'm not sure about that, but it looks like a giant electromagnet on the back of the truck; all you have to do is use the power from the solar panels to operate a similar electromagnet in the car and it'll be just like the lego trains you used to get with the red/blue coupling magenets at the end of each carriage!

      1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson

        And of course

        WHY on earth would you bring a trailer full of cans of "Bud" to Australia when you can drink Aussie beer?

        Mine's a James Boag's please.

        1. Adam Nealis

          Because non US beer is too strong for Americans.

        2. Lester Haines (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

          Re: And of course

          By an amazing coincidence, we've just cracked a couple of those...

  5. bleh_meh
    Thumb Down

    Damn whinging poms

    Not too surprised at your reaction to the weather... 32 degrees is cold for Darwin, just wait for the real heat traveling down the Sturt Highway!

    Don't forget that the finish line is in the driest state of the driest continent.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I have done that route 2 years ago in the reverse direction, in an airconditioned car luckily. It will get hotter but much more dry, which I could tolerate much much better than the 35C with rain in Darwin. We had about 45C in the middle of the route two months later into the summer, so 50C inside the vehicles is even surprisingly low. Just make sure to drink enough, we drank about 4 liters of water every day.

    Try to find an underground hotel in Coober Pedy in the South, they are wonderfully cool without airco, if you're not claustrophobic at least.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Agree about Coober Pedy's underground locations.

      Not so sure about driving with air-con. You get to move quickly enough to get a good breeze going and being shut away from everything in a coolbox sounds like less fun to me.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Here's our very own Drew Cullen...."

    WTF Is he wearing?

  8. Denarius Silver badge

    Hot, you call that hot !

    not as hot as Manilya Bridge, WA, where fueling the car one January was made hard by the petrol boiling in the underground tank... The Alice is tolerable at 45C with 5% humidity.

    Darwin humidity does take a bit to get used to. Getting off plane from south was always fun when the door opened. Like being hit by a wall of steam.Enjoy the trip anyway.

    Flames because that's what the center sun can feel like. :-)

  9. Craig 28

    Re:Driest part of the driest continent

    I suspect that's referring to liquid water not evaporated water as in the case of humidity. Higher temperatures tends to make an area "dry" more by turning the liquid water into its evaporated form and thus raising humidity, it is well known that tropical regions are insanely humid and this makes it even harder for the body to remove excess heat.

    For any Australians accusing the el reg team of being whiney I'll point out that adapting to unfamiliar conditions is difficult. I would invite any of you to try spending time in somewhere noted for its coldness such as Alaska in the US and see how much you complain. That's why people involved in sports and the like often arrive early to acclimatise their bodies to the environment, for people not in the peak of fitness as most of us aren't this takes a greater toll.

    1. Ru

      So long as they weren't referring to a lack of beer.

      Aussies would probably die in Alaska. One of my former housemates hailed from Victoria (not exactly the toastiest part of Oz) and didn't really cope well with East Anglian weather; not exactly the frostiest place on earth. I think she spent 7 of the 8 months of her time in the UK shivering under a thick ski jacket.

  10. ScottK

    Ex pat brit in Darwin

    Darwin is just starting to get hot and humid as the dry is coming to an end. You need to be here in the middle of the wet if you want to catch Darwin in its full hot & humid best. I will be at the starting line on Sunday morning. Hope to catch up with the SPB there.

    1. Lester Haines (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

      Re: Ex pat brit in Darwin

      Look out for us and give us a shout... Drew will be be wearing his SPB shirt.

      1. ScottK

        RE: Ex pat Brit in Darwin

        Missed you guys in the throng at the start line unfortunately. Good luck on your trip. I haven't done the drive all the way to Adelaide yet, but have done two runs to Alice. The first, large parts of the road were underwater and the second involved driving through a raging bushfire (you will see the devastation North of Alice). On the return trip I had close encounters with 2 large cows that had wandered into the road. Serves me right for driving in the dark I suppose.

        I don't know how the cars will cope with the weather at the moment though, as the wet season seems to have moved in very early. It has just started bucketing it down here in Humpty Doo about 30KMs South of Darwin at about 14:30 in the afternoon. One car didn't even make it this far though as I passed it by the side of the road at Howard Springs about 15KMs South of Darwin. Hope the weather is still fine further South.

        1. Lester Haines (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

          Re: RE: Ex pat Brit in Darwin

          Weather was fine until we got to Adelaide, where it started raining hard.

  11. mjc72

    Here's wishing the University of Michigan team good fortune in the race. Go Blue!!!!

  12. Chris007

    best line in article

    "International Health Nazi conference in California"

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Or I'll report you to the Vegansturmfuhrer!!

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