Dutch retake lead, and Mossel Bay gets a virtual reality 360-degree view of solar cars

Sonke and CUT students to share knowledge and VR videos with Mossel Bay school kids

Sedgefield, South Africa 

Completing a single lap more than their rivals on a short 58 km road just outside the small town of Kareedouw, Dutch team Nuon have retaken the lead in the 2018 Sasol Solar Challenge. They’re now 22.7 km ahead of rivals Tokai from Japan.

Third on the start line, with 370.9 km for the day and 1,685.3 km total, will be SA’s Tshwane University of Technology.

After working through the night to repair damage on their car, the Swiss team have pulled off a perfect recovery, completing 370.7 kilometres on the road between Port Elizabeth and Sedgefield.  They will start fourth when the teams hit the N2 to Mossel Bay on Friday.

The hyper-realistic solar car Reysol from the Hong Kong City University will start fifth, having done 36 kilometres, and high school team Sonke will be right behind them.

SA’s North-West University beat their main rivals in the battle for third, clocking 383.1 km, but a late finish penalty sees them start seventh. This will give TUT and the Swiss Energy Racers a gap to reach Mossel Bay faster, and potentially lap more looped routes than NWU. The NWU’s Phoenix car will need to operate at maximum efficiency tomorrow if they wish to beat TUT – with a little over 80 km between them in total.

Last on the line will be the Central University of Technology, and the Cape Peninsula University of Technology.

In Mossel Bay, team Sonke will also once again take their place on the edutainment platform that travels with the Sasol Solar Challenge. The young presenters join a professional team every day to give schools en route a taste of what engineering and science looks like when applied in a fun and practical way.

Sonke kids aged 15 to 17 have been manning some of the games and challenges that visiting schools play, and St Augustine’s LEAP school student, Shanelle Makobe said participating in the educational activities has given her a great deal of perspective.

“This challenge has shown me that the knowledge I have could benefit others. We so easily fall into the trap of thinking we have nothing to contribute, but working on the education drive has made me appreciate that others can learn from me too. The take-home is that one can’t rely on textbooks only – learning is best when you do things, because that’s when you remember them.”

Mossel Bay will be a particularly special stop for local schools, as the Central University of Technology set up a virtual reality zone where learners can experience some of the trips that their – and other – solar cars have taken on this year’s Challenge to date.

“We really wanted to give them the feel of being in the solar car,” said Nico Nicholson, spokesperson for the CUT team. “And the only way to really do that is with virtual reality headsets. So those students taking part in the Sasol Solar Challenge events in Mossel Bay tomorrow will get a very special insight into what we get to experience every day of this epic event.”

Spectators can watch the start on Friday at 7h00 at the Mosaic Village in Sedgefield, and cars will arrive in Mossel Bay from 10h00, at which time the educational activities will start at the Langeberg Mall. Mossel Bay and surrounding residents can see the teams do their pit stops, driver changes and loops several times between 10h00 and 14h30, after which teams typically head off for the evening stop. Cars have to be across the line at the Swellendam Showgrounds at 17h00, and will be on display until 17h30.

The finish line will be in Stellenbosch on Saturday, 29 October at 15h30 to 16h00 at Die Braak, 3 Blom Street.


Sasol Solar Challenge route and dates

22 September: Pretoria – Sasolburg – Kroonstad

23 September: Kroonstad – Winburg – Bloemfontein

24 September: Bloemfontein – Edenburg – Gariep Dam

25 September: Gariep Dam – Middelburg – Graaff-Reinet

26 September: Graaff-Reinet – Jansenville – Port Elizabeth

27 September: Port Elizabeth – Kareedauw – Sedgefield

28 September: Sedgefield – Mossel Bay – Swellendam

29 September: Swellendam – Bredasdorp – Cape Agulhas – Stellenbosch


Useful links

Link to 2018 Sasol Solar Challenge photography: bit.ly/SSCMEDIA

Facebook page: SA Solar Challenge

YouTube channel: SASolarChallenge

Twitter handle: @Solar_Challenge

Official hashtag: #SasolSolarChallenge

Instagram: sasolarchallenge

Thursday, September 27, 2018