Thursday, August 31, 2017

WSC 2017 Update: August 31st

(EDITED Sept 1 to include Antakari's unveiling, Michigan's arrival in Adelaide)

One more team off the official team list this week: Cairo has withdrawn from the Cruiser class, which isn't a huge surprise.

A bunch of teams unveiled this week - Antakari, Adelaide U, Western Sydney, Tokai, and JU. See each of their headings below for some thoughts.

UiTM, and ANU have scheduled their unveiling dates, leaving CUER as the sole challenger team that hasn't shown off their car OR announced a date. But apparently CUER has already shipped out Mirage without a public unveiling or launch, or even a single photo of the car...

The list of yet-to-be-shipped cars is getting increasingly small as well:
  • Antakari, Tokai, UiTM, MDH, KNUT, RVCE, Goko, and Blue Sky are the 8 non-Australian Challenger teams that we have no information about shipping or packing status. NWU, Sonnenwagen, and ITU haven't shipped yet but are all working hard on packing.
  • On the Cruiser side, we haven't seen any shipping information from SunSPEC, Tehran, or Siam Tech. Bochum and PrISUm are just about to ship (or perhaps already have).

I won't be doing my usual long-form update on all the teams for the next 2-3 weeks (although I will be providing a quick update digest). Instead, stay tuned for a few posts giving an overview and analysis of how the Challenger and Cruiser classes are shaping up, and what MostDece's picks are for the top contenders in each class.

Challenger Class

2: University of Michigan

Status: In Australia! The team and Novum have arrived safe and sound in Adelaide.

No other news this week.

3: Nuon

Status: In Australia! Both the car and a large portion of the team are on the ground in Australia.

The team had members present when both Adelaide University and WSU unveiled their new cars on the 29th. Along with Twente and Eindhoven, Nuon announced that film crew will be following along for the race and doing daily updates.

4: Antakari

Status: Unveiled! With very short notice, Antakari announced and unveiled Intikallpa IV on September 1st.

(image source)

7: Adelaide University

Status: Unveiled! The team unveiled Lumen II on August 29th.

(image source)

Some more photos from the launch event can be found here.

The team also posted a video onto their Facebook. At around 1:17, one of their drivers sits in the car. I realize that the car is unfinished in that video and the rollcage isn't installed, but that canopy looks... cavernously large.

8: Punch Powertrain

Status: Shipped! The team shipped Punch Two out to Australia on August 23rd.

Not much news this week - the team posted a video showing how they packed the car for shipping, and discussing some of the logistics that dealing with international customs entails. The also posted a bunch of photos of packing & shipping the car to Flickr; one of the photos reveals that the real array is not installed yet. I recall that they installed the array in Australia in 2015 as well. Installing the array late minimizes potential damage to the array during testing, but it also limits the amount of "race simulation" type testing that the team can do before the race. Punch's biggest weakness in 2015 appeared to be in the operation of the team, not in the car itself...

10: Tokai

Status: Unveiled! The team unveiled the 2017 Tokai Challenger on August 29th.

This is the big news this week. Like Michigan, after two cycles of asymmetric catamarans, Tokai has switched to a narrow monohull bullet car with the driver on the centerline. Unlike Michigan, they're sticking with a monocrystalline silicon array.

(image source)
(image source)

A pair of articles were published in Japanese car blogs, and they offer a surprising amount of detail about the car. The 2017 Tokai Challenger is 4.98m long x 1.2m wide x 1m high; it has a 0.61m wide track width and 1.7m long wheelbase. That's a super narrow track! Reg 2.3.2 states that both the front and rear track can not be less than half the maximum width of the car, and Tokai is within 10mm of that. Additionally, that's getting down into the range of CUER's 2013 Resolution, which didn't manage to keep the rubber side down.

The article also states that the car weighs 140kg, the battery layout is 17P/24S, and their solar cells are 24.1% efficient. These are a new variant of the Panasonic HIT cells - note that they don't have a top contact and appear much darker in color, just like the Sunpower cells.

The most notable difference from Michigan's car is the very pointy nose (all following photos from

Compare to the photos of Michigan's Novum back from when we covered their unveiling.

Even more than Novum, this car makes me think of Kogakuin's 2013 Practice with the sides cut off.

It's really interesting to see the top 5 teams from last year split so dramatically - two teams doing narrow monohulls, two teams doing miniature short/wide catamarans, and one doing a long/narrow catamaran. Two teams with silicon arrays, and three with multijunction arrays. It's going to be really exciting to see which design philosophies pay off! Summed up pretty well here:

The blue box at the bottom left translates to "The majority of teams concentrates on conventional extension!"

No more comments for now, just enjoy a few more photos:

12: Cambridge University

Status: Shipped! The team claims their new car Mirage will arrive in Australia "shortly"

In the shipping announcement post, the team published a newer, rendering of the car. As far as I can see, the main change from the previously published one is that it includes sponsor logos now:

From the WSC teams page back at the start of July
(image source)
Almost two months later...
(image source)

Reading between the lines on that blog: it really screams to me that the car is still quite incomplete, but they hit their shipping deadline and had to send it off anyway if they wanted a chance of competing. I can't come up with any other reasonable explanation why they would publish what the car is supposed to look like, the fact that it has a tracking array, etc - but not publish a single photo of the car even after it has shipped.

15: WSU

Status: Unveiled! The team unveiled Unlimited 2.0 on August 29th, with a whole crowd of solar car team guests.

Articles on their unveiling were posted on, and their university news service.

Unlimited 2.0 is a long, narrow catamaran - 4.58m long and 1.4m wide - with a very large, thin front overhang. Stanford's 2011 Xenith is the first comparison that springs to mind, although the front overhang on WSU's car isn't quite as radical in length.

(image source, Photo Credit: Sally Tsoutas)
(image source, Photo Credit: Sally Tsoutas)
Obligatory Xenith photo

NIT's Horizon 17 is a little longer and wider, while Twente's Red Shift is a little shorter and narrower, but the three cars are proportionally very similar. All three are much longer/narrower than the 4.5m x 1.8m formula of the past two WSCs, and even longer/narrower than the old 5m x 1.8m formula.

Meanwhile, Unlimited 2.0's array doesn't extend any wider than the wheel fairings on the back half - very similar to Stanford, NIT, and Nuon this year - and there's no aft array overhang at all, which is extremely similar to Nuon.

(image source)

This is a really sleek car. WSU finished in 10th in 2015, and three of the teams that finished ahead of them aren't competing for the Wilson Cup this year. I called WSU one of the most improved teams in 2015; let's see how much they can move up in the standings this year!

Finally, a little bit of silliness.

16: Stanford

Status: Shipped! I've heard through the grapevine that Stanford shipped Sundae out to Australia over the last weekend in August.

The team is posting race crew profiles to Instagram this week.

18: UiTM EcoPhoton

Status: Unveiling scheduled. The team said in a Facebook comment that they'll be unveiling the car on September 5th.

Not much this week. I spotted a very complete looking chassis on their Instagram "story", but that's mobile-only, so I can't link to it here.

20: Durham

Status: Shipped! Durham shipped their car to Australia on July 18th.

No news this week.

21: Twente

Status: Shipped! The team shipped Red Shift to Australia on August 16th.

Some of the team has departed for Australia and is already practicing their victory pose at the fountain in Adelaide. Twente also announced that a film crew will be following the three Dutch teams (Nuon, Twente, and Eindhoven) to produce daily updates over the course of the race.

22: MDH

Status: Unveiled! The team unveiled way back on May 31st.

No news this week.

25: Nagoya Institute of Technology

Status: Shipped! NIT shipped Horizon 17 to Australia on August 9th.

No news this week.

28: Neul-Hae-Rang

Status: Unveiled! The team unveiled Woong-bi on June 25th.

No news this week.

32: Principia

Status: Shipped! Principia shipped Ra X to Australia on August 1st.

No news this week.

34: RVCE

Status: Unveiled! The team unveiled Arka on August 5th.

No news this week.

37: Goko High School

Status: Car Complete! We've seen several photos of the completed 2017 Musoushin.

No news this week.

38: NWU

Status: Unveiled! The team unveiled Naledi on August 22nd.

The team is currently packing the car to ship. One interesting photo can be seen here:

(image source)

You can clearly see in the shape of the support below the wing, and how it will rotate/tilt on the back of the center body. The array portion comes off the wing; the blue dots underneath are 3D printed supports for the upper half.

43: Australia National University

Status: Unveiling Scheduled. A team member mentioned in a Facebook comment that they are planning to launch the car on September 19th.

Not much news this week. It sounds like manufacturing is really coming down to the wire, and they're having some issues.

46: Jonkoping University

Status: Unveiled, and Shipped! The team unveiled Solveig on August 28th, and shipped it on August 30th.

(image source)

The car clearly has a different chassis than the one I criticized a little here - it really wasn't clear if that was a test chassis or not. By my count they've done at least two test chassis before the final one: The square tube chassis (12), and the round tube chassis (12). That's a hell of a lot more prototyping and iterating in hardware than most teams do.

70: Sonnenwagen Aachen

Status: Unveiled! The team unveiled Huawei Sonnenwagen on July 20th.

At least some of their equipment has shipped, but it may be having trouble in Singapore.

71: Istanbul Technical University

Status: Unveiled! The team unveiled B.O.W (Bees On Wheels) on August 9th.

ITU has completed road testing and is ready for the race. The team is preparing to ship.

77: Blue Sky

Status: Unveiled! The team unveiled Polaris on August 14th.

Blue Sky has been testing the car and is getting ready to ship.

82: Kookmin University

Status: Shipped! The team shipped Taegeuk to Australia at the end of July.

No news this week.

88: Kogakuin University

Status:  Shipped! The team shipped Wing to Adelaide on July 31st.

No news this week.

Cruiser Class

5: SunSPEC

Status: Unveiled! Singapore Polytechnic unveiled SunSPEC 5 on July 21st.

No news this week.

9: PrISUm

Status: Unveiled! Iowa State unveiled Penumbra on June 2nd.

They announced two weeks ago that they're planning to ship tomorrow, but I haven't seen any updates on packing/shipping.

11: Hochschule Bochum

Status: Unveiled! Bochum unveiled Blue.Cruiser on July 5th.

The first team members have arrived in Australia and attended WSU's unveiling. The rest of the team will be traveling down under on September 7th.  If I'm translating that post right, the car hasn't shipped yet, but it will very soon.

The team posted that the interior of the car is upholstered in pineapple leather. Bochum is raising the bar for fit&finish in the Cruiser class, as always!

Bridgestone also posted a video about the team.

14: Flinders

Status: Unveiling scheduled? Someone on Twitter (a team member?) claims that the car will be unveiled/launched on September 11th.

The frame of the car is taking shape.

23: University of Tehran

The car looks more finished every week, but they still have a long way to go.

30: Team Arrow

The team is working on their solar array.

33: Cairo University

Status: Withdrawn.

Cairo was removed from the WSC 2017 team list on Tuesday. Given the lack of visible progress, I can't say that I'm too surprised.

35: IVE Sophie

Status: Shipped! IVE shipped Sophie VI out to Australia on August 28th.

No other news this week.

40: Eindhoven

Status: Shipped! The team shipped Stella Vie to Australia on August 19th.

No much this week - the team announced (along with Twente and Nuon) that a film crew will be following along on the World Solar Challenge and attempting to do daily broadcasts.


No news this week.

45: Lodz

Status: Shipped! The team shipped Eagle Two to Australia on July 17th.

The car has made it to Singapore.

49: Siam Tech (Nikola)

Status: Unveiled! The team held a joint unveiling event for both Edison (Challenger) and Nikola (Cruiser) on August 14th.

No news this week.

75: UNSW Sunswift

Status: Unveiling scheduled. We've been told by a team member that the unveiling is scheduled for the morning of September 14th.

No news this week.

94: University of Minnesota

Status: Shipped! The team shipped Eos II out to Australia over the last weekend in July.

No news this week.

95: Apollo

Status: Shipped! The team shipped Apollo VIII to Adelaide on August 23rd.

Sometime in the past week or so, "& St. John's University Solar Car Team" was appended to their WSC team page. There are several institutions named Saint John's University, but this is likely referring to the one in Taiwan.

Adventure Class

52: Illini Solar Car

Status: Shipped! The team shipped Argo out to Australia at the start of August.

No news this week.

53: Mississippi Choctaw High School

No news this week.


  1. Is it possible to take a photograph of a Mirage?


  2. Anyone else suspect Cambridge might just have spruced up their 2015 car and shipped that to Australia?