Solar-powered and fuel-efficient cars in 3000 km Australian race challenge

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Big business manufacturers and ingenious student engineers are destined to converge in Australia for a 3000 km coast-to-coast motor race with a difference, which starts on Saturday, October 24.

The Global Green Challenge, tracing its roots back to the first World Solar Challenge race in 1987, acts as a clarion call to car manufacturers and young engineering students to raise the environmental profile of motoring, producing vehicles capable of meeting the speeds that consumers have become accustomed to whilst at the same time reaching greater and greater energy efficiencies.

The racers are themselves split into two distinct categories. Firstly, there are the Eco-Challenge entrants, who drive production-level vehicles in what is fast becoming both an industry showcase and a sort of experimental testing ground. Cars from eight major motorcar manufacturers from BMW to Skoda will be present, along with an entry from the all-girls school Annesley College, and Tesla Motors' first electric roadster to be driven by the CEO of event partner Internode Systems, an Australian internet service provider.

The second category of racers enter into the World Solar Challenge solar cars event, primarily made up of student teams from universities and technical institutes in 16 different countries. Teams are limited to 6m2 of solar panelling, so in order to maximize their vehicle's effectiveness it's not uncommon for that panelling to take on some sort of aerodynamic form, hugging almost the entire top surface of each solar car.

The event can be followed on the Global Green Challenge website as well as in person for those lucky enough to be in the vicinity of the race route. Before the races commence there is an opportunity to inspect the various vehicles at Darwin's Hidden Valley Raceway and in the city's State Square on October 24, and finally as the race finishes at Adelaide's Victoria Square on the south coast.

Global Green Challenge race, Australia
October 24-31, Darwin to Adelaide
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