Day 2: New challenges in the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge

14 - 10 - 2019

Day two of the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge! We went from Daly Waters to Tennant Creek in a single stage which brought along many exciting moments. We have driven over a 1000 km so far and we’re over a third of the total distance of the BWSC.

After our first night in the Australian outback, we started our day with static charging and bacon&eggs. Since we were camping at a control stop where multiple other solar teams were camping, we didn’t want to risk any other team parking their solar cars on the best spot for static charging the next morning. Therefore, two team members got up at 3am to place Stella Era on the best spot, enabling her to get the maximum out of the Sun. Just before 8am, we moved Era to her designated control stop spot. Since Stella Era had already fulfilled 4 minutes of the mandatory 30 minute control stop, we had to wait 26 minutes before Era could leave and carry on to Tennant Creek. The control stop was already very crowded, with one other cruiser car (Violet from team Sunswift) and at least 6 challengers checking in and out.  Half of the team guarded our solar panel in order to prevent shadows from people passing by blocking the solar panel. Our account manager Pam even showed a heroic jump to block a guy coming too close to our panel. No one is getting in the way of our sunrays!

The drive towards Tennant Creek went good, we drove with 4 passengers. As expected, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky and Era gained lots of solar energy. Our scout auto was driving behind a truck that was suddenly slowing down while driving uphill. He slowed down to a crawling pace and suddenly the image from yesterday flashed before our eyes. Was history going to repeat itself? Luckily we were able to get in contact with the truck driver and he sped up just in time. The last hurdle of this stint was the very particular timed traffic light: the light is red for many minutes and only green for 30 seconds. We sent one convoy car ahead to time the traffic light and subsequently our strategy team calculated the optimum speed for Era.

Just moments ago, we’ve arrived at Tennant Creek where we will be charging our battery via the grid for the first time since we left off at Darwin. We have driven (most of) our 1000 km trip with all four passengers. We are proud to have reached this first milestone of our 3000 km journey. During the next two days, we will be traveling to our next charging station at Coober Pedy; a 1200 km journey which will be a challenge of its own due to predicted bad weather conditions.