Why solar racing is a brain sport


2486 weather OKBy ERWIN CHLANDA
The rain has turned the Solar Challenge into a brain sport even more than it usually is, says Hans Tholstrup, the founder of the event, who is in Alice Springs.
He says the Cruiser Class isn’t affected significantly because vehicle batteries can be re-charged from the power grid up to twice a day. They are really electric cars with solar assist, says Mr Tholstrup (below), and they have been resuming their south-bound journey.
But for the solar cars, which must rely entirely on sunshine, the focus within each team has shifted from the technician to the meteorologist within their crews.
2486 Hans Tholstrup 1 OKBeginning yesterday, when the weather shaped up as a major issue, the strategy had to be fine-tuned: Go fast and achieve a greater distance but use more charge, or slow down and arrive at the overnight point – wherever that may be at 5pm – with enough battery left for the resumption of the journey at 8am today.
Mr Tholstrup says the overcast weather is reducing the “incoming power” to about 15%.


  1. What a great event this is. Great to see the cars moving through Alice Springs. Well done to them all.

  2. Hans, the NT and SA should be very proud of this event. Yes, it’s a blend of finance, technology, endurance and the inexact science of meteorology and even guesswork.
    The more a team understands the performance of their vehicles under different conditions the better decisions they can make.
    The occasional rain and especially the wind has added many uncertainties and significant challenges. However the benefits for the future of solar vehicles is inestimable.


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