Internode Blog

Well, here we are!

Friday, October 30th, 2009 by

charging-darwinThis morning, the Roadster was taken out for one of its last road trips for a while – the Urban Cycle course around Adelaide, heading up into the hills through Belair and then down through Magill and North East Road before returning to the city centre to attend an official welcome by the SA premier, Mike Rann.

After 3,147 kilometres, we’ve successfully driven our team all the way from Darwin to Adelaide, with the Roadster travelling completely on electric power – and we set a world record on the way. Nothing to laugh at!

Now, for those of you a little confused about the nature of this Eco Challenge, and whether or not it was a race, and if you’re wondering how well each of the cars did, I’ve got a few numbers for you. Unfortunately, these numbers do not relate to the two electric cars (the Roadster and the Deep Green Research Honda Civic) – those are coming tomorrow once the data-monkeys can crunch some numbers.

So. For the rest of the pack, their ‘performance’ is based upon a comparison with published Australian Design Regulation figures. This is how it panned out, for each of the VFACTS classes entered in the Challenge:

Eco Challenge Awards

Production Class Small Car Diesel
Ford Fiesta ECOnetic 15.44%
Production Class Small Car Petrol
Suzuki Alto GLX 18.55%
Production Class Ute/Light Truck
HSV Maloo Ute 48.76%
Production Class Large Car Petrol
Ford Falcon XR6 Turbo 39.81%
Production Class Large Car Diesel
Skoda Superb 33.50%
Production Class Medium/ Off Road
Hyundai Santa Fe SLX – Entry#5 23.90%
Production Class 2 seat Electric
Tesla Roadster
Modified Production Small Electric
Deep Green Research Honda Civic
Modified Production Hybrid
Annesley College Holden Viva
Modified Production Motor Bike
Top Gear Magazine – Honda CT-110 (postie bike!)

World Solar Challenge Awards

Adventure Class
3rd Goko High School Hiroshima
2nd Southern Aurora
1st Osaka Sangyo University

Challenge Class Silicon
Winner: University New South Wales

Challenge Class
3rd University of Michigan
2nd Nuon Solar Team

Overall Winner
Winner: Tokai University

As you can see, everybody’s a winner! (Well, almost…)
See you tomorrow night at the presentations, we’ve been told there’s a few more awards that they haven’t announced just yet!

Congratulations to everybody involved – it wouldn’t have been the same without you!

First lot of Eco Challenge results

Monday, October 26th, 2009 by

Okay, so we’ve covered the first lot of solar car results, how about finding out how the Eco Challenge vehicles are going?

The important difference between the two events is that the Eco Challenge is not really a race. Each team is effectively competing against the manufacturer’s stated figures, primarily aiming to show improvements in fuel economy.

At this point, the lowest fuel consumption figure goes to the Ford Fiesta ECOnetic diesel, which reported 3.13 litres/100km over the Katherine to Tennant Creek stage, which (as we know) is 600km plus.

Those low numbers are not spread across the board, with the biggest fuel consumption going to the HSV Maloo Ute (not what many people would think of as a ‘green’ car) which is reporting 8 litres per 100km. While that might sound pretty hefty, it’s actually an improvement of 44.99% on the ADR stated figure. The Ford Falcon XR6 Turbo, another big car, has improved 39.41%, using 7.09 litres over the same distance.

Holden’s other entry, the Sportwagon, is reporting 6.19 litres/100km (an improvement of 33.43%), and the Skoda Superb is using 4.70 litres for an improvement of 31.93%.

While both Hyundai Santa Fe models are reporting very similar numbers (21.77% and 21.23% improvements with the best fuel consumption equalling 5.24 litres/100km), the two Kia Sorento entries are a bit different – one car has improved by 19.72%, while the other reported 26.68% (the best fuel consumption for them was 4.91 litres/100km).

The littler cars are all fairly uniform – while the three Mini D’s are reporting different figures, the best fuel consumption was 3.30 litres/100km (nothing to laugh at!), and the Suzuki Alto achieved 3.88 litres/100km.

Of course, as these results are all for the “conventional” cars, we don’t have figures for the Annesley College hybrid car or the alcohol-fuelled postie bike, but we did see both of them on the road today between Tennant Creek and Alice Springs. Likewise, our fellow all-electric vehicle from Deep Green has been sharing our generator at several stops, which goes to show the level of camaraderie between the teams, even though technically they’re the competition!

We’ll have more of an update for you later: today was – you guessed it – a long day, full of recharging, but we also squeezed some sight-seeing in there, too! Right now, we have an official welcoming to Alice Springs, which Simon is speaking at, so I’d better wash off some of this red dust and go join the rest of our illustrious crew!

Jessica Citizen

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…but what about the other cars?

Monday, October 26th, 2009 by

Well, the solar cars kicked off their run yesterday (Sunday, a day after we did), and we’re expecting to see a few of them zipping past us today because they’re really rocketing along!

At the end of the first day of competing, the Japanese entry #60 Tokai Challenger is in the lead, followed by #2 Infinium, from the University of Michigan. Both Dutch entries are currently in third and fourth: #3 Nuna V (Nuon Solar Team – who started out as the favourites for this race), and #21 21Revolution (Solar Team Twente, who you might remember are now, with a little help from a certain friendly Australian ISP!).

Each of those four teams made it to the second checkpoint in Dunmarra by the 5pm end-of-race last night – some 633km from their 8am starting point in Darwin.

Thirty-one solar vehicles started the race, with the vast majority making it to the first checkpoint, recording a distance of 318km on their first day.

Unfortunately, there were a few disappointed teams – the Australian Aurora 101, based in Victoria and the fastest at the time trials (setting an average 91.83kph at Hidden Valley on Saturday morning) is reported to have spun after leaving Darwin, suffering suspension damage.

Adding insult to injury, Aurora Vehicle Association’s other car, the #99 Southern Aurora (travelling in a different class to the 101) struck electrical issues, meaning it did not reach the first checkpoint either.

Both of these cars were then taken to Katherine for repairs, and will start the day fresh today at the same place they were stranded.

The Belgian entry, #8 Umicar Inspire wasn’t so lucky, crashing 380km out of Darwin at around 1pm Sunday afternoon. According to reports, the driver lost control of the vehicle after a gust of wind hit the car. While no injuries were reported, the car has been officially withdrawn from the event.

From what I hear, the Eco Challenge cars are all travelling pretty nicely (yes, including the Postie bike, which keeps popping up at roadhouses), and I should have some numbers from them very soon.

Right now though, I’ve just been given the hurry-up – time to leave Tennant Creek and head off for Alice Springs, with one stop in Ti Tree. Looks like another long day stretching ahead of us!

Jessica Citizen