Day 5: Was Stella Era going to give up on the last day before finishing?

17 - 10 - 2019

Last night we camped in Coober Pedy, where we were allowed to do external charging. During our usual after-dinner team meeting, we emphasized the importance of staying focused on these last two days. Because even though we were on a good strike, everything could still go wrong.

This morning, we started fresh with 4 passengers after a few hours of static charging in the morning Sun. The plan of the day was to drive to control stop Glendambo, then onto control stop Port Augusta and a few more kilometers after that to the overnight stop. At 8 o’clock we headed off to the first controls stop when, only 10 minutes later, Stella Era shut down. Last night’s warning proved itself right. Due to the many safety measures we have implemented in Stella Era, she will shut down when an error or warning is triggered. This morning she detected a few issues and we had to stop next to the road to fix the issue. It meant we’ve lost valuable time compared to our competitors Sunswift and IVE.

We had two control stops on the way. Firstly, Glendambo and a few hundred kilometers south control stop Port Augusta. We have been doing these control stops all week and we’re become quite skilled at it. Since we were next to the road in the beginning of the day, we were driving behind Sunswift, IVE Engineering Solar Car Team, Bochum Solar Car Team and University of Minnesota Solar Vehicle Project. During the day, we overtook Bochum and Minnesota. Just before we arrived in Port Augusta we managed to overtake IVE as well.

We ended our day of driving just south of Port Augusta, a few minutes after 5 pm. We were relieved that the problems of the morning did not persist during the day. We only have 200 kilometers left until we arrive at the finish in Adelaide. What a journey it has been! About 3000 kilometers in 6 days on solar energy.