By ERWIN CHLANDA. Photos by PETA BURTON.
Some cars in the World Solar Challenge heading for Alice Springs have morphed from tiny, claustrophobic single cockpit contraptions tacked on to a solar panel to the kind of vehicle that you and I might be driving some time soon. They have as many as four seats and look – well – like a car.
Stella Lux (at right) from the Eindhoven University of Technology in Holland can seat four and do 125 km/h.
The Sun Riser (at left) from the Bochum University of Applied Sciences in Germany seats two and can reach 120 km/h.
Eagle One (below) from the Lodz University of Technology (Poland) likewise.
All three vehicles in the Cruiser Class of the 3000 km event have another thing in common: A hefty price tag. Lux and Riser are estimated to have cost $1m each to develop, and the Eagle, $500,000.
It’s possible that the leading competitor will reach Alice today after the start in Darwin just yesterday.
Red One of the Team Twente (at top) from Netherlands is in a tussle for top spot with the lead changing constantly in their Challenger Class. Currently Twente is leading University of Michigan in Aurum.
Most vehicles will be in Alice by tomorrow and the Cruiser Class will have a mid-way start here on Wednesday morning.