The South African Sasol Solar Challenge is a biennial competition and serves to be the ultimate test of technology and innovation. Solar car teams from across the world design and build solar-powered vehicles to drive across South Africa in an eight-day event while competing against one another, demonstrating their design, manufacturing and strategy skills. The challenge spans over a period of eight days, travelling from Pretoria to Cape Town via Porth Elizabeth, where the ultimate winner is the team who has clocked the most kilometres on their solar car. There are three separate participation classes that teams can enter in, each with different rules and objectives.
- Challenger Class: Cars entered into this category are newly built, four-wheel, single seater and are built for maximum energy efficiency and endurance.
- Adventure Class: Cars entered into this category have participated in previous editions of the challenge and may include three-wheelers and vehicles with solar arrays that are larger than required for the Challenger Class.
- Cruiser Class: Cars entered into this class are designed to be practical for everyday use and normally include four seats and a storage compartment.
The solar car teams are run like professional racing teams, raising money to compete, doing their own marketing and logistics, and analysing the route's weather, road conditions and more. Along the route, the Sasol Solar Challenge draws thousands of spectators and inspires technology enthusiasts and future engineers.
In 2018. the teams travelled distances between 2 500 km and 5 000 km respectively. The 2018 event took place from 22 to 30 September. They navigated through some of the world’s most beautiful and diverse landscapes, from savannah and mountains to coastal forest. Every year, top international solar car teams are attracted to the challenge to compete in varying road conditions and weather situations, across an altitude that ranges by nearly 2 000 metres.