back to article And they're off! Day one at the solar races

Yesterday, 37 solar cars set off from State Square in Darwin, NT for the start of the 3,000km 2011 World Solar Challenge across the Australian continent. El Reg's Special Projects Bureau was there to wave them off... wsc start montage ...and then join the race down the Stuart Highway. Nuon solarcar on the road The first …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Unfortunately, we had no internet connection"

    Welcome to life in rural Australia.

  2. Martin 47

    gis a job

    I am ever so slightly extremely jealous!

    But keep up the good work (work? Pish!)

  3. DownUndaRob

    Welcome to my part of the world..

    The NT News has just reported on their facebook page (at about 13:30 ACST)

    The Solar Car Challenge might be interrupted. Bushfires NT have just informed us they are planning to close the Stuart Highway, at Barrow Creek, due to raging bushfires.

    Hmmm Barrow Creek and British backpackers........

  4. oceanhippie

    Missed oportunity

    You missed the Daly Waters pub then, shame. Pop 5 is pretty big, Daly waters once hosted an international air port. Its never had a population in 3 figures.

    Your not using unlocked UK mobiles with Telstra sim's are you? Telsta's three G is odd, its normal 3g net on a different frequency. In the big towns they usually work but out bush they can't do the 850 Mhz out bush.

    Not that there's much signal on the Stewart Highway anyway. Think Tennats, Alice Coober Peedy Woomera and a few road houses till Port Augusta.

    As for the most expensive Diesel, It will get worse I reckon, between Tenants Creek and The Alice.

    As a Brit in Darwin, I'm getting to know the Northern Territories. Just for those who can't imagine I'm from Brighton Population: 256,600 (inc suburb of Hove) all crammed into 87Km2 its only recently been granted city status, for more perspective the whole uk is 241,590Km2 and what 60million people. The NT (not today, not tomorrow, not Tuesday, probably not Thursday either) has a Total population of 229,675 spread over 1.3 million km2.

    Think 5 times the size of the UK and less people than Brighton and Hove.

    And like you I love the NT news, even hungover in a greasy spoon I couldn't manage to enjoy Brighton's Evening Argus. NT news on the other hand.... crocs, sex on balconies, crashes, crocs, and today "I drank my own Urine" and probably more crocs.

    Some of the stories in NT news are probably related to the NT's Drink problem, Territorians drink more than you can imagine. If they were a country they'ed top the league tables by a huge margin.

    1. Arthur Jackson


      Surely you mean Hove actually?

  5. DownUndaRob

    All STOP

    UPDATE from the World Solar Challenge: 'Due to bushfires at Barrow Creek and road closures a new control stop has been established at Wauchope 116km south of Tennant Creek to replace the control stop at Barrow Creek. Three cars – Tokai, Nuon & Michigan are currently in that control stop. Event officials are awaiting advice from Police regarding the re-opening of the Highway.'

  6. Blarkon

    Try Tennant Creek instead of Tennant Springs. Unless you go with Alice Creek instead of Alice Springs in the next update.

  7. Winkypop Silver badge

    Don't sleep under a tree out there.


  8. Jerry


    Can I just point out that these 'leaders' in solar energy chose to ride in impractical, unsafe vehicles that by some miracle are classified as bicycles.

    What would be impressive is someone firing up a solar train that runs on steel rails and can actually carry useful cargo. There is a train line the whole way that would be ideal.

    I envisage a train a10 or 20 cars long carrying passengers, goods, and for fun's sake an open air jacuzzi. I guarantee it will beat the sweaty cyclists in speed, and will actually be a realistic way to deliver goods.

    1. Hombre sin nombre

      Much like the dimwits in Formula 1

      Who ride in impractical, unsafe, vehicles and blah blah blah

      It's a race, Jerry. You don't win by inventing your own rules.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The glory of this is that no one is stopping you from running just such a competiiton.

      And I'd pay good money to see a train race.

  9. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    Conspiracy Theory

    Fires probably started deliberately by big oil executives frightened by the competition from solar power!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Fires probably started deliberately by big shiny object in the sky, disappointed at puny humans using its power as they decide!

  10. Grease Monkey Silver badge

    Come on guys, if you're going to do this properly you've got to have a world championship. Now I'm not going to suggest, like some idiots would, that you hold a race on December 21st in Iceland. But we need to know how these vehicles would perform in a more temperate location.

    How about Manchester next week?

    1. Bill B


      How the heck are you going to run a solar car in Manchester?

      Anecdotal evidence is that Manchester is one of the homes of the Rain Gods (the others being the Lake District and Snowdon) .. either that or they go there to shop.

      I thought this was a joke until I drove north up the M6 and it started raining as I passed Manchester .. and stopped shortly after.

      Raincoat because .. well .. we are talking about Manchester

      1. melt

        That '.....feeeeeeeeeEEEeeeeeeeeeeeee.....' sound wasn't an electric car overhead.

  11. Nick Pettefar

    HF Amateur Radio would have (and does) solved the comms problem.... Goes over the horizon.

    Hmm, beard is getting longer.

    1. peter 45


      plus you can also add a nu 'fangled thingy called a computer (don't trust it myself - it uses transistors. Yuk) with a piece of software called PSKmail and you can have email over your HF. Enable the APRS with a GPS input and you can have continual updates of your position.

    2. Peter Simpson 1
      Thumb Up

      Believe the folks in Oz have discovered it

  12. Tim #3

    "... convoy of five vehicles, the solar car, its two support vhicles, and two trucks filled with people and stuff.... driving so close together"

    A touch of slipstreaming is going on perhaps?

  13. Tim Bergel

    Charging during rest stops?

    I noticed that the pictures at the rest stop seem to show a number of upper car panels being held up sideways to catch the evening sunshine - are they getting a bit more charge into the batteries?

    1. Mike Moyle

      re: Charging during rest stops?

      I assumed the same -- that it was a way of getting a starting charge for the early morning before the sun was sufficiently high for full power.

  14. John 62

    most expensive diesel in oz?

    what's that? about 5p/l?

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