Friday, June 30, 2017

Quick links: June 30th, 2017

Oh man everyone, you're in for a treat: TWO MOSTDECE POSTS IN TWO DAYS! Since there's no official teams list yet, I missed a few things - and as this is car reveal season, things are moving quickly.

On the topic of the teams list, someone on Facebook has seemingly-definitively announced that the official team list will be announced on July 6th, 1300 Adelaide time - so sit tight for another week

Of possible interest to our German readers, Nigel pointed out perpetu-blog, which has some articles on WSC.

On the team front, there's one team that I missed that is showing significant progress: Polytech Solar Team, from St. Petersburg Polytechnic University in Russia. Not much to see on their Twitter and even less on Facebook, but a TON of photos on VK. They're deep into the construction of an asymmetric catamaran, with the sides of the array nicely blended into the catamaran fairings - very similar to Punch's car this year. Looks like they'll be doing leading arm suspension up front, based on the shape of the chassis.

KUAS unveiled Apollo VIII yesterday, and it is indeed a catamaran/tunnel style Cruiser that is similar in concept to Kogakuin's car last year, although not quiet as elegant. I'm pretty sure it's a two-seater.

Apollo VIII
(image source)

There's a video of it driving around on Facebook. The window attachment looks a little dodgy, but there's plenty of time between now and the race to fix that. Also, DANG that window tint is deep - that's gotta be breaking reg 2.17.3, right?

IVE's unveiling event isn't supposed to be until July 2nd, but a photo of it has snuck out early in a news article:

Sophie VI

It looks like the car has a lot better fit & finish than Sophie V did last time around. Notable in the news article, a claimed 300kg weight (not bad for a two-seat solar car), and magnesium alloy suspension.

Finally, it appears that Siam Tech *is* actually working on a car, it's just that their social media accounts have changed a little and I didn't find them before... their current website claims that they are building both a Challenger and a Cruiser car! The Challenger Edison is illustrated as fairly generic asymmetric catamaran, whereas the Cruiser Nikola is... literally a traced-over copy of Bochum's 2015 car.

(totally not traced over a photo of Bochum's SunRiser, we swear)

And neither of those illustrations match the car that they're currently building on Facebook. So, who knows?

In the near future, Stanford is unveiling July 1st (today!), IVE (officialy) on the 2nd, Bochum on the 5th (although we already have renders), Michigan on the 7th, Minnesota on the 11th, and Nuon is unveiling on the 25th. Principia should also be unveiling really soon - the car is all done, but this is the only photo they've posted so far... They're bringing it to Formula Sun in Texas for a shakedown race before WSC in the fall, and scrutineering for that race starts on Monday!

Finally, maybe it's the beer talking, but let's close out this post with a moment of zen from the App State team as they pack up for FSPG.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

WSC 2017 Update: June 29th

It's the post you've all been waiting for: The first MostDece team update post of the WSC 2017 season! I'd been postponing this update until the official entry list is released, which I was told was supposed to happen on World Environment Day (June 5th) or the Solstice (June 20th), but those dates came and went... and teams are starting to unveil cars. I've heard word that WSC may be releasing the teams list today-ish, as part of this #100days campaign that they seem to be coordinating on social media with teams? We'll see.

Scientific Gems has a pretty good teams list. You should check it out.

Alright. First let's run down the list of teams from last year, and then look at other teams that appear active on social media:

Challenger Class: Returning WSC 2015 Teams

University of Michigan

Michigan is a regular competitor at WSC (they first competed at WSC in 1990!), and finished 4th in 2015. They've finished 3rd place at WSC on five separate occasion (1990, 2001, 2005, 2009, and 2011), but never higher than that. Most recently, the team came in 1st at ASC in 2016 (for the sixth straight time, no less). Their finish at ASC is all the more impressive because of heavy cloud cover and rain along the entire route, and Michigan were the only team to finish entirely on solar power.

About a month ago, they announced that the new car will be named Novum, and there's a lot of car-construction evidence on social media. I believe that they're going to unveil the car on July 7th.

The returning champs of WSC 2015 have won the race six times, and finished in 2nd on two other occasions - never finishing lower than that as WSC. Recently they also won the Sasol Solar Challenge in the fall of 2016, and are definitely coming back to WSC in 2017. They've posted a little about doing test flat-panel layups, but like Michigan, Nuon is traditionally pretty secretive about their design. Expect that we won't see much from Nuon until the car is complete.

That said, Nuon has already revealed that they're using Mitsuba's new sliding stator motor. Mitsuba has been working on this motor since 2006 and Kei Nomura is understandably excited.

The team is planning on revealing the car on July 25th, and they say they have some surprises for us!

Antakari Solar Team

Antakari ended up withdrawing from WSC 2015 before the event, but it looks like they're hard at work building a fresh car for 2017. There are lots of photos of composite work on their facebook account; it looks like they're building an asymmetric catamaran. I don't think I've seen a photo of the bottom mold yet, so I'm not sure what the fairing layout looks like.

App State (a relatively new team from the USA) claims to be sending some members to join them for WSC.

EAFIT finished 13th at their first WSC in 2013, and 9th in 2015. Their website claims they are shooting for a top-5 finish in 2017.

Previously the team was named EPM-EAFIT, but the team appears to have split from their partnership with EPM.

There's not a lot of action on their social media accounts, and no photos of car parts under construction.

MIT Solar Electric Vehicle Team

MIT finished the 2015 WSC in 23rd place, with 1835km of 3022km complete. They have announced their intent to compete in WSC 2017, with a new car named Flux. They appeared to be on a very aggressive construction schedule, completing the body layups for an asymmetric catamaran in November of 2016! Notably, it appears to have split non-driver-side fairings; a feature that very few asymmetric catamarans had in 2015 (12). However, they haven't posted any updates at all since doing their body layups.

Punch Powertrain Solar Team

Punch finished 5th at WSC in 2015, and will definitely be back for 2017. They recently unveiled their new car Punch II.

Punch II unveiled on June 22nd
(image source)

One of the things I've been really interested to see is how Challenger teams shape their cars, now that the array area is so much smaller than the possible planview area and teams are no longer forced to build The Rectangle. Will they go long and narrow? Short and wide? Some sort of radically rounded shape?

Punch has definitely taken advantage of the new rules - rather than being rectangular, the car is narrower at the nose and tail, and the edges of the main airfoil are rounded significantly. I really like how they've blended the front corners of the mainfoil into the wheel fairings. It's a little hard to tell, but the car looks proportionally a little shorter/wider than the Challenger cars last year.

Adelaide University Solar Racing Team

AUSRT was a new team for 2015, finishing WSC in 21st with 2292km of 3022km completed. They have announced a new car for WSC 2017, Lumen II, as well as a goal of a top-10 finish.

There's been a lot of composites layup photos on Twitter, it looks like it'll be a pretty typical asymmetric catamaran.

Tokai University Solar Car Team

Tokai has been a consistent top performer at WSC over the past several races, finishing 1st in 2009 and 2011,  2nd in 2013,  and 3rd in 2015. They also recently finished 2nd (behind Nuon) at the 2016 Sasol Solar Challenge. I presume they're planning on attending WSC in 2017? Although I can't find any definitive announcement or photos of the new-car-in-progress, they've been re-tweeting and sharing other teams' announcements on Twitter and Facebook. Tokai is usually pretty quiet on social media so lack of an announcement or car progress photos is normal, and I'd be surprised if they weren't going to fight to get the trophy back from Nuon.

Cambridge University Eco Racing

CUER finished WSC 2015 in 22nd place, with 2047km of 3022km complete. They're definitely planning to attend WSC 2017, but haven't dropped any details about their design yet. It sounds like they started constructing the new car in early May.

WSU Solar Car Project

Western Sydney finished 11th at their first WSC in 2013, and 10th in 2015 - which is more impressive than it sounds, as only 10 cars finished the entire distance in 2013, whereas 20 cars finished in 2015.

WSU is definitely planning to come back to WSC in 2017. They've recently released a great documentary about their 2015 race, and their May Newsletter shows off some photos of car construction. They're keeping details of the design pretty close to their chests, though...

UKZN Solar Car

After coming in 13th at their first WSC in 2015, things have been pretty quiet from this team. They chose not to attend the 2016 Sasol Solar Challenge in their native South Africa, which they first attended in 2012, and finished 3rd in 2014. Choosing not to race at an event in their home country because the team is "exhausted" from a race the prior year is a little odd, as is the statement that members need to focus on postgraduate work... a team needs to be continually recruiting and training younger students to replace those who graduate. Teams that are built around a few strong personalities rather than an institutional tradition often fade away rapidly after a few strong race cycles, and I wonder if that's what we're seeing here.

So far I've seen no public indications that UKZN in planning on WSC 2017.

Team Solaris

Team Solaris finished WSC 2015 in 25th, with 1575km of 3022km complete. More recently, they came in 3rd at the Moroccan Solar Race Challenge 2016, and tried to attend the Egyptian Solar Challenge in March but never managed to get their car through customs (not an uncommon problem at that event). No word on whether they're planning for WSC 2017.

(Aside: I've found it impossible to find out what happened at the Moroccan solar challenge, I can't even find an official set of results, much less a teams list. All I know other than Solaris in 3rd is that Onda Solare won the event with their WSC 2013 car)

Stanford Solar Car Project

Stanford has been putting on a strong showing in the past few years, coming in 4th place in 2013 and 6th place in 2015. A quick glance at their social media shows that they're definitely planning on WSC 2017 and are nearly ready to unveil their new car, which they have named Sundae. I like the rendering that shows how much smaller their new car is that the ones built under the old regs.

NWU Solar Car

NWU put in a strong 11th place finish at their first WSC in 2015, and recently finished 4th at the 2016 Sasol Solar Challenge (the same position they finished in 2014).

The front page on their website states that they are planning to attend WSC 2017 with a brand new car, and there are a lot of posts about constructing it on their social media. Of particular note, they're molding their own carbon fiber rims. While really cool, I'm wondering how well they'll hold up... GHCraft is the gold standard of carbon solar car rims nowadays, but OG solar car folks will remember that it took them 2-3 revisions to get in right; the first rev in that was in use around '03 was particularly prone to failure in cornering...

EcoPhoton Solar Team

The team from Malaysia has declared their intent to attend WSC 2017 all over their website, Instagram, and Twitter. It appears that they did their bottom shell layups over the first week of February, and composites photos continue to be posted to Instagram (123).

Solar Team Twente

Twente is a team that's been on the rise over the past few years: a 5th place finish at WSC 2011, 3rd place in 2013, and a nail-biting 2nd place finish at WSC in 2015. They also won the 2016 European Solar Challenge this past September. The team has already unveiled their new car Red Shift - it's a great looking car, and I expect that the team will continue their streak in the top-5 at WSC

Red Shift and The Stig?
(image source)

That said...  I wrote two years ago that it was notable how much Red One stood out from the crowd of identical cars, whereas this year my first impression of their car is "it looks like Twente copied Nuon's homework". Given how the rules changed and blew the aerodynamic design space wide open, I'll be a little surprised (and disappointed) if the winning car looks just like the previous winner at 2/3rds scale.

Siam Technology College

Siam Tech is from Thailand, and was a brand new team at WSC 2015. They were unable to complete dynamic scrutineering, and did not start the race. Absolutely nothing has been posted on their social media accounts since they walked the car across the finish line in Adelaide. I do not expect to see them in 2017.

MegaLux GAMF

MegaLux was a brand new team at WSC 2015, putting in a very strong 7th place finish. They also took the 3rd place finish at the 2016 Sasol Solar Challenge in October. 

They announced at the start of March that they are constructing a new car for WSC 2017.

Goko High School Solar Car Team

Goko finished 14th at the 2015 WSC, which is extremely impressive for a high school team. I couldn't ever find any team presence on the internet back then, so I have no idea what they're up to nowadays - but they *are* one of the teams that Bridgestone announced they would be supplying tires to, so presumably they're planning on attending.

Durham University Solar Car

Durham had a rough time at WSC in 2017; they had electrical issues during dynamic scrutineering and completed precisely zero kilometers of the 3022km challenge. However, it sounds like they're determined to give the challenge another shot. The team posted a video of their solar car driving in May, with a caption that implies this is the car that they're bringing to Australia - but it appears to be their 2015 car? I wonder if they're just planning on stripping 2sqm of solar cells off the top instead of building a whole new car.

RVCE Solar Car Team

This team from India was unable to compete in WSC 2015 - they had shipping issues with the car, which did not arrive until after scrutineering was nearly completed. It certainly didn't help that the car was perhaps 75% complete, at best.

They have been extremely active on social media and their blog and they appear to be building a new car for 2017 - although pictures of progress are worryingly non-existent at this point.

Team Arrow

Team Arrow finished in 8th place in 2015. They've announced that they're switching to the Cruiser Class for 2017 and that the car will be commercially available (in limited numbers). Bold! I'll be suitably impressed if they can follow through on that. They haven't unveiled the car yet, but the renderings they have posted are very reminiscent of UNSW's eVe from 2013 and 2015 - a low slung, two-seat "sports car" appearance. I'll take one in orange, please!

Principia Solar Car

Principia finished in 17th at WSC in 2015, as well as 5th place at the American Solar Challenge in both 2014 and 2016. They've built a new car for WSC 2017, although they haven't unveiled it yet. They must be doing that soon, since they've entered it into FSGP 2017 -which starts in a week!

Of note, they also have the sweet new Mitsuba motor with the variable field sliding stator version of this motor, along with Nuon and JU.

Anadolu Solar Team

Anadolu finished 19th at WSC 2015. Last year, they participated in the 2016 Salsol Solar Challenge with a brand new car Sunatolia 3. In March, they posted a photo of it tagged with #bwsc17, so it sounds like they're ready with a fresh car and planning to show up. They'll have to strip 2sqm of array off that car to meet the new 2017 regs, though.

JU Solar Team

The JU Solar Team was a new team in 2013, when they DNF'd. They came back to the next WSC, finishing 15th in 2015, and they're going to be coming back for 2017. There's some signs of construction on social media, and they're the third team that I know of that has one of the new sliding stator Mitsuba motors.

Nagoya Institute of Technology Solar Car Team

NIT came in 16th at their first WSC in 2015. They're currently racing their car at Suzuka, and it appears that they're building a new car for WSC 2017. They're also one of the teams that Bridgestone is supplying with tires.

KIT Solar Car Project

KIT finished WSC 2015 in 18th place. They're currently racing that car at Suzuka, with a very strange new canopy/windshield (12). I'm not sure if they're planning on WSC 2017.

Edit 7/2: A reader has pointed out that both KIT and Nagoya were doing a practice lap day at Suzuka, and the race itself is in August. Whoops - I know the Dream Cup is always run in August - this is what I screw up when I write these too late into the night... 

Blue Sky Solar Racing

Blue Sky finished in 12th at WSC 2015. It looks like they're working hard on a new car for WSC 2017.

Beijing Institute of Technology

The team from China only completed 1199km of 3022km at WSC 2015, placing 24th. Prior to that, the completed under half the distance at WSC 2013 as well.

They don't have any internet presence that I can find, so I have no idea what their 2017 plans are.

Kookmin University Solar Car Team

Kookmin finished WSC 2015 in 20th place, the last Challenger car to finish the entire distance of the event. Their Facebook page has frequent photos of parts of a new car in progress, complete with a  countdown to WSC 2017. I believe they've named their new car Taegeuk, and they've just posted a few CAD images of an asymmetric catamaran to Facebook.

Cruiser Class: Returning WSC 2015 Teams

Hochschule Bochum SolarCar Projekt

Bochum finished in 2nd in the first official Cruiser class in 2013, and 3rd in 2015. They've revealed renderings of their new 2017 car, blue.cruiser.  The car itself will be officially unveiled on July 5th.

(image source)

(image source)

The car kind of reminds me of Minnesota's 2013 Cruiser, Daedalus - especially the two-seat cockpit that is narrower than the main body of the car, with a strip of solar cells on either side. It's not as no-hold-barred aero as Daedalus was: the front is a little blunter, the trailing edge isn't razor-thin, and the cockpit looks wider (so there will be some shoulder room for the occupants, unlike with Minnesota's old car). But blue.cruiser certainly appears to have been designed with a lot more emphasis on aerodynamic efficiency than Bochum's previous cars.

EDIT 6/29: reader Nigel has pointed out to me that blue.cruiser is a 4-seat car, as noted on the team's cars page. Dang, I'm impressed they can fit four people under there. I was thrown off by the two-door design, I think this may be the very first solar 2+2. I wonder how claustrophobic the back seats are?

Istanbul Technical University Solar Car Team

ITU never showed up to WSC 2015 - they just went silent after September. They competed with a "five fairing" Challenger-style car at the European Solar Challenge in September 2016, and although they've announced their entry into WSC 2017, the teaser render of the new car and composites work photos appear to show a Challenger-style asymmetric catamaran.

Maaaaybe it's a two-seat catamaran, with each person in their own little Challenger-style pod??? Probably not, as cool as that would be - I have a theory that a Challenger-style "cheater" car is actually the optimal way to rack up points under the WSC 2017 Cruiser scoring rules... we'll talk about that in another post.


SunSpec managed to place 9th in the 2015 Cruiser class; rebuilding their car in record time when a fire destroyed it before the event. A glance at their facebook shows a lot of construction activity on the new car, SunSpec5. It looks like it's going to be a 2-seater, very similar to the previous one.

ITS Solar Car Racing Team

This team had issues with their car at WSC in 2015 - the front suspension collapsed in the brake test, although they were eventually able to qualify. They placed 10th out of 11 in the Cruiser class. Way back in May of 2016, they posted a teaser illustration of a new car for WSC 2017 - but they haven't posted any progress since then.

IVE Solar Car

IVE placed 8th in the Cruiser class in 2015. They've posted a render of their new Cruiser, and will be unveiling it on July 2nd.

University of Minnesota Solar Vehicle Project

The UMN team finished 4th in the Cruiser class in 2013, and 5th in 2015 - the middle of the field both times, and the last car to complete the entire course. They've posted some construction photos to their Facebook, and have announced the unveiling of Eos II will be on July 11th.

Persian Gazelle Solar Car

This team from Iran placed 11th (last) at WSC in the 2015 Cruiser class with Persian Gazelle III. They've posted a single line drawing of Persian Gazelle IV with the caption "2017", but I can't find any formal announcement of their entry into WSC 2017 - or any photos or text posts of construction progress.

Solar Team Eindhoven

The Dutch team has stormed the Cruiser class twice in a row, handily winning it in both WSC 2013 and 2015. They've already unveiled their new car Stella Vie, and it's a 5-seater! Two people in the front row, and three-across in the back.

Stella Vie
(image sourceCC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Like Bochum, Eindhoven's new car also has a largely increased emphasis on aerodynamics versus their previous car. Compared to their old car Stella Lux, we can see how the increased planview area combined with the reduced solar cell area has allowed the team to streamline the car to a much larger extent. The nose of the car is narrower and rounder, the windshield is far more raked, and the tail of the car is faired in dramatically to reduce the area of the vertical tail as much as possible:

(image sourceCC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

(image sourceCC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

This is a hot car. Barring any surprises or upsets, I think it's safe to say that this will be the car to beat in the Cruiser class.

Ardingly Solar Car

Ardingly competed in WSC 2015 with a 2-seat Cruiser car to based on a modified Lotus 7 kit car. Unfortunately, they had some issues and were credited with zero person-km in the WSC 2015 results. They've announced plans to enter into the Cruiser class again in 2017, and they've been posting workshop photos throughout the summer. I saw a photo of the frame captioned "The Basking Beastie is taking shape", is that the official name? I hope so!

There's a rendering of the car at the top of their facebook page. Kinda looks like a 2015 Kogakuin knockoff, eh?

EDIT 6/29: reader Nigel has let me know that Ardingly is not planning on attending WSC 2017. Indeed, their website lays out the following schedule: "Hot weather testing" in late summer this year, a tour of the UK in the summer of 2018, the European Solar Challenge in September of 2018, and then WSC in 2019.

KGHM Lodz Solar Team

Lodz was a brand new team at WSC 2015, placing 7th in the Cruiser class with a very well finished two-seater. They appear to be fairly far along in the construction of a new four seat Cruiser car. The new car is named Eagle Two. About a month ago, they posted a nice walkaround video of the composite body to Facebook.

UNSW Sunswift

UNSW was one of the teams that entered into the first Cruiser class in 2013. The team's 5th car, eVe placed third that year. They brought eVe back to WSC 2015, and placed 4th.

This year they're building a new car: Violet (Not stylized VIolet, apparently - unlike IVy and eVe?). The team had a "private technical launch event" earlier in the month, although they've been very cagey about releasing photos of the car's progress. That said, the one rendering they posted on Instagram last September, the shape of the car under the purple cover, and the shape of the little purple car on top of the cake all are extremely reminiscent of eVe. You can see a lot of bare carbon in the corners of some of the pictures - there's still a lot of work to do to finish this car.

Kogakuin University Solar Vehicle Project

Kogakuin finished 14th in the Challenger class at WSC 2013, with 2450km of 3022km completed. In 2015,they took on the Cruiser class with a wild tunnel car, which I honestly though had the best shot at winning. Turns out I both overestimated its performance potential and dramatically underestimated Eindhoven, and Kogakuin placed 2nd overall. For 2017, it sounds like they're going back to the Challenger Class, and unveiling on June 29th. Photos of an absolutely radical car just showed up on their webpage:

Kogakuin's new car Wing
(image source)
(image source)

That's bold. I'm excited.

The cars page on the team website notes that the car is 4.99m long, 1.05m wide, and 1.07m high - a very narrow car, but utilizing almost the full length allowed. It's wider than CUER's 2013 car (Resolution) that rolled a few times - that was only 0.8m wide - and about the same width as Evolution in 2015 (1m). (Edited 7/5 to correct Evolution's width)

The car is very reminiscent of the late 80s/early 90s pod-and-wing solar cars (with a dash of CUER's 2013/2015 bullet cars mixed in). Perhaps with a much more streamlined driver pod, no exposed suspension, and a much smaller wing for the modern 4sqm arrays, this strategy will be viable? We'll see in October!

(I do have to wonder if that wing is over-optimized for straight-line aerodynamics, vs performance in crosswinds and/or array power. It's pretty, though...)

EDIT 6/29: A cell phone video from the unveiling event showed up on Twitter, which gives a better idea of exactly how the solar array wing is shaped.

New Teams for 2017?

Since the official teams list hasn't been announced yet, I'm sort of flying blind here - so I'm going to rely heavily on the list that Scientific Gems has already put together.

Australian National University

This is a brand new team. They've released a super-strange-looking render: 

(image source)

It's... a four-fairing asymmetric? Not sure how to classify this. Narrow front track, wide rear track. Both rear wheels and the front right in their own individual small fairings, with the driver offset a little (not as much as most catamaran cars) and contained in the elongated rear of the front left wheel fairing. Huh.

There's not a lot of visible progress on the car on social media, although they announced an unveiling date of August 2nd.

Flinders University

This is another new team out of Australia, they're entering the Cruiser class with something that looks very much like a real car, if the renders are to be believed.

(image source)

The only physical process on their social media are some photos of a bare tube-frame chassis from late May.

This is a new team from Germany, entering the Challenger class with a fairly normal looking asymmetric catamaran called Huawei Sonnenwagen. There are lots of photos of car construction on Instagram and Twitter.

This Italian team most recently attended WSC in 2013, when they placed 10th in the Challenger class with their car Emilia 3 - the last team to complete the full 3022km that year. More recently, the they've taken Emilia 3 around the world, finishing 10th at Abu Dhabi in 2015, 6th in the 2016 European Solar Challenge, 2nd in the 2016 Carrera Solar Atacama, and 1st place in the 2016 Moroccan Solar Challenge.

The team is working on a new car, Emilia 4. It's a 4-seat Cruiser car that bears more than a passing resemblance to Eindhoven's Stella Lux from 2015.


This team from the Kaohsiung University of Applied Sciences in Taiwan last attended WSC in 2013, placing 6th in the Cruiser class. They're building a new Cruiser car Apollo VIII. It appears to be a 2-seat catamaran/tunnel car, perhaps similar to Kogakuin's car in 2015. They may be unveiling tomorrow?

MDH Solar Team

This is a brand new team from Mälardalen University College in Sweden. They've already unveiled their car for the Challenger class at WSC 2017, and it's a weird one.

(image source)

(image source)

It's a five fairing car, except missing the array on either side of the driver? A driver pod with an array wing fore and aft? I'm not quite sure how to classify this. The two rationalizations I can think of for this design are (1) it makes driver ingress easier with a centrally-located driver seat (the driver must get in and out unassisted for 2017), and (2) the solar cells are placed to minimize shading from the driver bubble. Huh. It also strikes me as a great way to maximize the amount of messy junctions per unit of wetted area.

I really like this poster someone made. We need more good solar car art.

Iowa State University (PrISUm)

The is an old, old team from the USA - they were founded in 1989, and I believe that they're the only remaining team that can claim to have competed in every single cross-country American race, from the original GM SunRayce in 1990 through ASC 2016.

Most recently, they finished 2nd at ASC in 2012, 3rd in 2014, and 7th at the very rainy 2016 event. They're looking to attend WSC for the first time ever in 2017 with their new 4-seat Cruiser car, Penumbra. The car was unveiled at the start of June, and the team has been doing a pretty extensive tour of Iowa since then - the car is going to be very well tested prior to WSC!

It's a pretty well finished car with a nice looking interior, but I can't get over that big, blunt rear end. The new scoring equation for the 2017 Cruiser class really emphasizes efficiency (which teams like Eindhoven and Bochum have clearly taken to heart), and Penumbra doesn't look aerodynamically efficient to me. I expect that Iowa State will finish fairly well purely by showing up with a well prepared/tested car and team (schedule management is a huge indicator for solar car success, and this team is doing an exemplary job of that), but I don't think this is a contender for the win, and a longshot for the podium.

This is a brand new team that's planning on entering the Challenger class. Their design page evokes memories of the cutout-class cars that were run in SunRayce in the 90's, but there are consistent progress updates on the team's FacebookInstagram, and Twitter - so I have hope that we'll actually see them in Australia

Illini Solar Car

This team from the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign is a new team (although there was a team from Urbana-Champaign that raced in SunRayce '95 and '97, that team is a distant memory). They're building a Challenger class car for WSC 2017, and I believe they're already planning on ASC 2018 as well. It looks like it will be a driver-down-the-center five-fairing car. They're posting frequent construction updates to Facebook and Twitter, and it looks like the chassis is already driver under it's own power.