Dutch teams take top spots in 2015 World Solar Car Challenge
Two Dutch teams battled it out for top spot at the 2015 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge, with Nuon Solar taking first place in a tense race to the finish.
Solar Team Twente took second place in the 3000km race, which takes place over five days in the sun-baked Australian outback.
An epic journey
Launched in 1987, the biennial race bisects Australia, reaching from Darwin on the north coast, to Adelaide in the south. The 2015 edition saw 42 cars from 25 countries compete.
Cars for the future
The focus of the World Solar Challenge is all about energy management and to find out who can create the most energy efficient electric vehicle.
Competing cars must not use more than six square metres of solar panels and can reach an average speed of more than 90km per hour.
At the mercy of the weather, a cloudy day can spell defeat for cars who do not manage their energy usage effectively.
Fortunately for Team Nuon "the sun broke through the clouds at the right moment at the right times," according to team manager Mark Hupkens. "We charged the car back up and we continued. We went crazy fast, and it was amazing."
A close finish
Solar Team Twente's car Red One held the lead for the majority of the race, only being overtaken by Nuon Solar’s car, Nuna 8, in the afternoon of the fourth day.
The moment when Nuna 8 manoeuvred ahead of Red One sparked controversy as Twente claimed they were forced to apply their emergency break, consuming one percent of precious battery power.
In the end Nuna 8 finished three minutes and 35 seconds ahead of Red One.
Nuon’s sixth victory
The 2015 win is the sixth victory for Nuon who claimed their first title back in 2003. Japanese team Tokai took third place, overtaking the University of Michigan 30km from the finish line.
Both Dutch teams celebrated the end of the race by talking a dip in Adelaide’s Victoria Square fountain.