New Zealand's Solar Car in the 2007 Panasonic World Solar Challenge


Solar Fern 2007 World Solar Challenge Highlights


  • We did it!
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  • Total distance travelled 2,256 km, including the final leg into Adelaide itself.
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  • 12th position in Adventure class, out of 18 cars
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  • 24th position overall, out of 37 cars
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  • Top speed achieved during race: 110 kph (Speed limit in South Australia)
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  • Typical cruise speed (limited by solar power): 60 kph
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  • Lap time in Qualifying: 2:31 - 13th position out of 37 cars
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  • Typical full sun solar power: 600W
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  • 400W full sun power for the first 3 days until the solar trackers were set up properly.
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  • Best solar power seen during race: 800W
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  • Over half the entrants (19/37) did not finish the full distance, with many forced off the road due to a severe storm which swept through South Australia on Saturday.

Day 1: 458 km

Started at 8:12am (13th position on grid)
Stopped at 5:12pm 75km before Dunmarra control stop

Weather: Partly cloudy conditions, plus smoke haze from bush fires
Cloudy evening
Batteries: 10% remaining at end of racing


Day 2: 239 km

Started at 10:15am after charging from solar panels and working on instrumentation
Stopped at 5:05pm 38km before Elliot

Weather: Clear morning at campsite 75km before Dunmara
Mostly clear sky
Partly cloudy evening
Batteries: 50% remaining at end of racing


Day 3: 395 km

Started at 8:15am
Stopped at 4:30pm at Devils Marbles camp site due to flat battery

Weather: Clear morning at campsite near Elliot
Cloudy condition in the afternoon
Cloudy evening
Batteries: Dead flat at end of racing


Day 4: 264 km

Started at 10:30am after charging from solar panels and working on instrumentation and solar trackers
Stopped at 4:30pm 2km from Aileron due to suspension failure

Weather: Early morning cloud at Devil's Marbles but cleared around 8am
Clear sky
Clear evening
Batteries: 75% remaining at end of racing


Day 5: 398 km

Started at 8:10am
Stopped at 4:55pm under solar panel installation on road side 33km before South Australia border

Weather: Good morning sun at Aileron
Sky mostly clear
Partly cloudy in evening
Batteries: 50% remaining at end of racing


Day 6: 157 km + 271 km on trailer due to support vehicle breakdown

Trailered to Cadney Homestead - Arrived 11:44am
Started driving solar car at 1pm from Cadney Homestead control stop
Stopped at 5:05pm 4km past Coober Pedy

Weather: Clear morning
Clear sky throughout day
Clear evening
Batteries: 85% remaining at end of racing - after our mad dash to Coober Pedy!


Day 7: 248 km + 289 km on trailer. Race officially called off due to bad weather

Started at 8:20am
Arrived at Glemdambo Roadhouse control stop at 12:22pm.
Trailered to Port Augusta control stop where the race was called off.

Weather: Partly cloudy morning
Increasing cloud and strong winds throughout morning
Winds increased to gale force and a fierce sand storm blew up in the afternoon.
Visibility reduced to less than 100m in sand storm.
Solar power under 300W all morning and almost nothing in the afternoon.
Batteries: 75% remaining despite very low solar power!


Day 8:  97 km + 205km on trailer

Trailered to Port Wakefeild
Drove from Port Wakefield to Adelaide centre and the finish line.

Weather: Over 50% cloudy, a little rain, moderate winds.
Batteries: Over 50% remaining at finish line.