July 14, 2024

Belgian Team Emerges Victorious in the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge

In a thrilling race across the challenging terrain of Australia, a team from Belgium has secured first place in the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge (BWSC) for the second consecutive time. The BWSC, held every two years, brings together innovative solar vehicles from all over the world to compete in a grueling journey from Darwin to Adelaide.

The winning team, Innoptus, participated in the Challenger Class, where only one driver is allowed in the single-seat vehicle at a time. However, teams can swap drivers up to six times during the race. Participants are also required to be self-sufficient, camping along the route and carrying all the necessary supplies to maintain their vehicles. To meet the minimum weight requirement of 80 kg (176 lb) for each driver, weights are added if necessary.

In the previous event, the Belgians claimed victory after the leading car from the Netherlands caught fire. This year, despite fierce competition from the Netherlands team, Twente, Innoptus managed to maintain their narrow lead and completed the course in 34 hours, 4 minutes, and 41 seconds. This time was an improvement over their previous record by almost five minutes. Twente finished in second place with a time of 34 hours, 24 minutes, and 58 seconds.

The cars participating in the race must adhere to specific size restrictions, with a maximum length of 5 m (16 ft) and a maximum width of 2.2 m (7.2 ft). Additionally, they must have at least three wheels. The solar arrays powering the vehicles cannot exceed 4 m2 (43 ft2), making every bit of sunlight crucial for optimal performance. This proved to be a challenge for all participants this year due to heavy smoke from wildfires along the route.

Cedric Verlinden, the team manager of Innoptus, attributed their success to their unique fin design. The fin, situated atop their winning car named “Infinite,” played a crucial role in maintaining stability against crosswinds encountered throughout the course. Verlinden emphasized the team’s strategic approach, enabling them to anticipate and overcome various obstacles, such as bushfires, changing weather conditions, and unpredictable cloud cover.

The marketing representative of Innoptus, Pauline Vanvuchelen, acknowledged the fierce competition posed by Solar Team Twente. She highlighted the team’s dedication and efforts to stay minutes ahead until the very end. Vanvuchelen praised the fin as their “secret weapon,” which greatly contributed to their success in the race.

The Bridgestone World Solar Challenge serves as a platform for young engineers and students worldwide to showcase their innovation and skills in developing sustainable solar-powered vehicles. The event not only promotes renewable energy and sustainable transportation but also fosters international collaboration and healthy competition among participants. With each iteration, the teams push the boundaries of solar technology, propelling the world closer to a greener and more sustainable future.

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  1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
  2. We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile it