In 1982, solar pioneers Hans Tholstrup and Larry Perkins, embarked on a quest that would see them drive a home-built solar car Quiet Achiever across Australia from west to east. Inspired by this achievement and his own pioneering vision, Hans urged others to explore the boundaries of sun-powered transport.
And so the World Solar Challenge was born.
Inaugurated in 1987 with pioneer sponsor the South Australian Tourism Commission, the World Solar Challenge continues to showcase the development of advanced automotive technology and promote alternatives to conventional vehicle engines.
Today, while solar cars test the ultimate boundaries of energy efficiency, they also provide incredible insights into the capabilities of everyday vehicle technology. These innovations are at the heart of all electric cars, whether that power comes from hydrogen fuel cells, hybrid engines or even fully-electric commuter cars that draw power from solar cells on the garage roof – they all use the technology that is continually honed to perfection in the World Solar Challenge.
Utilising no more than five square metres of solar panels, some of the world’s brightest young minds are on track to develop the most efficient electric vehicles possible. And every two years, teams from leading international universities and technical institutes, together with private entrepreneurs, come together Down Under to test and promote the ultimate synergy of nature, motion and innovation.
In 2017, the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge celebrated its 30th Anniversary. The 2021 competition marks the 16th journey from the Top End to Adelaide.