Photovoltaics/Automotive 030829


The American Solar Challenge (ASC) A Synergy of Solar Power and Batteries Dedicated to Team Building and Racing
(October, 02)Solar and Lithium
Sun Kings Cross the Outback
Australia’s 2001 World Solar Challenge was the ultimate test of solar powered cars from around the world. A newcomer, the Nuna built by the Alpha Centauri team of The Netherlands, won with a new world record of 32 hours and 39 minutes with an average speed of 91.81 km/hr. Nuna’s PV array was 24% efficient, 3% more than the second place Aurora 101 from Melbourne and 5% more than third place M-Pulse from the University of Michigan. Although PV efficiency seems to dominate, the underlying system management of battery charge, road and weather conditions are an integral part of the victory. All major teams use artificial intelligence programs tied by telemetry to the vehicles to optimize the power available to the wheels relative to that needed to charge on-board batteries when required for hills, winds or other special conditions. The U.S. Taxpayers have a contribution to the victory because a small patch of PV cells returned from the Hubble Telescope (see BD # 73-2,3,4)were used by Nuna.(06-02BD75-14-15)
IEEE Spectrum
February 2002, pp. 40-46