News / Asia

3,000 Kilometer Solar Race Begins in Australia

FILE - A members of Japan's team at a previous World Solar Challenge is seen cleaning a solar panel on his vehicle.FILE - A members of Japan's team at a previous World Solar Challenge is seen cleaning a solar panel on his vehicle.
x
FILE - A members of Japan's team at a previous World Solar Challenge is seen cleaning a solar panel on his vehicle.
FILE - A members of Japan's team at a previous World Solar Challenge is seen cleaning a solar panel on his vehicle.
Phil Mercer
One of the most punishing races for solar-powered cars has started today in northern Australia.  The World Solar Challenge is a 3,000 kilometer trek through the Australia’s arid heart, from Darwin to Adelaide.  Thirty-nine cars made the finals, including teams from the U.S., Saudi Arabia and Iran.
 
The race through Australia’s central desert brings together the world's most efficient prototype solar cars.  The competition is, in effect, a giant research project to test the most modern technology in very harsh conditions.  The teams will have to negotiate the unrelenting desert heat in cramped cabins, often with limited ventilation.
 
The only British entry, from Cambridge University, crashed during testing.
 
Chris Selwood, the organizer of the World Solar Challenge, says it has become a highly competitive international event.
 
“Twenty-six countries are coming, lots of different cultures.  We’ve got people from Saudi Arabia; we’ve got people from Iran.  We transcend those political divides. It’s all about bright young people not only dreaming of a cleaner, greener future, but working hard to make those dreams a reality,” says Selwood.
 
A team from the University of New South Wales in Sydney is competing in what engineers say could eventually be Australia's first practical solar-powered car.  It looks like a regular vehicle and is a move away from previous designs that resembled a large table on three wheels.
 
The Australian vehicle is propelled by four square meters of silicon solar panels, which cover its roof and hood.  They convert energy from the sun into electricity that drives two in-hub rear wheel electric motors.  Power can also be stored in a bank of batteries, which gives the vehicle a range of 650 kilometers.  
 
Sam Paterson, the project’s director, says it is an exciting step forward.
 
“This car takes solar cars in a completely new direction, really turns heads.  It is something that is sleek and beautiful, and we’ve put a lot of design effort into it in terms of not just functionality but aesthetics and appeal to attract more attention, basically.  And build something that is beautiful yet efficient,” says Paterson.    
 
The race, which is held every two years, was first run in 1987.  It is scheduled to end in the southern Australian city of Adelaide next Thursday.  Conditions for the start were good, with clear skies and temperatures of 34 degrees Celsius.  The defending champion is the 'Tokai' team from Japan.

You May Like

US Firms Concerned About China's New Cyber Regulations

New rules would require technology companies doing business in financial sector to hand over their source code, adopt Chinese encryption algorithms More

WHO Focus on Ebola Shifts to Ending Outbreak

Focus to be less on building facilities and more on efforts to find infected people, manage their cases, engage with communities and ensure proper burials More

US Scientist Who Conceived of Groundbreaking Laser Technology Dies

Charles Townes, Nobel laureate, laser co-creator paved way for other scientific discoveries: CDs, eye surgery, metal cutters to name a few technologies that rely on lasers More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Webi
X
January 29, 2015 9:58 AM
Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video As Ground Shifts, Obama Reviews Middle East Strategy

The death of Saudi Arabia’s king, the collapse of a U.S.-friendly government in Yemen and a problematic relationship with Israel’s leadership are presenting a new set of complications for the Obama administration and its Middle East policy. Not only is the U.S. leader dealing with adversaries in Iran, the Islamic State and al-Qaida, but he is now juggling trouble with traditional allies, as White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long-distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures - for now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Saved By a Mistake - an Auschwitz Survivor's Story

Dagmar Lieblova was 14 when she arrived at Auschwitz in December 1943, along with her entire Czech Jewish family. All of them were to die there, but she was able to leave after several months due to a bureaucratic mix-up which saved her life. Now 85, with three children and six grandchildren, she says she has a feeling of victory. This report by Ahmad Wadiei and Farin Assemi, of RFE/RL's Radio Farda is narrated by RFE’s Raymond Furlong.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid