In friendly competition with others attempting the same goals, the teams depart Darwin aiming to be the first to arrive in Adelaide, some 3000km to the south.
It's all about energy management! Based on the original notion that a 1000W car would complete the journey in 50 hours, solar cars are allowed a nominal 5kW hours of stored energy, which is 10% of that theoretical figure. All other energy must come from the sun or be recovered from the kinetic energy of the vehicle.
These are arguably the most efficient electric vehicles.
Having made the journey to Darwin by successfully navigating quarantine, customs, scrutineering, safety inspections and undertaken event briefings, participants are ready to start their epic journey.
Once the teams have left Darwin they must travel as far as they can until 5pm in the afternoon where they make camp in the desert where-ever they happen to be. All teams must be fully self-sufficient and for all concerned it is a great adventure - many say the adventure of a lifetime.
The Challenger class is conducted in a single stage from Darwin to Adelaide.
The Cruiser Class is conducted in two stages, with a compulsory overnight stop in Alice Springs where teams may recharge from the grid. In 2013, Cruiser Class teams were able to charge from the grid in three locations, this change in 2015 will encourage teams to deploy the most innovative approaches to energy management.
The Adventure Class is also conducted over two stages, with an overnight stop in Alice Springs.
During the journey there are 7 mandatory check points where observers are changed and team managers may update themselves with the latest information on the weather and their own position in the field. Here teams may perform the most basic of maintenance only - checking and maintenance of tyre pressure and cleaning of debris from the vehicle.
There are also undisclosed check points which may be imposed by the event officials to ensure regulatory compliance.