Fourteen teams from across the world will take to South African roads later this month to compete for the crown of 2016 Sasol Solar Challenge champion.
One of the top global events of its kind, the challenge has become a biennial showcase of the power of alternative energy, where innovation meets engineering excellence (Stem).
All the vehicles have been designed by university students who are studying in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The challenge aims to showcase the “power of innovative thinking and the role that science and engineering can play in providing alternative solutions to existing challenges”, said Sasol’s Wrenelle Stander, senior vice-president for public affairs and real estate services.
“The platform offers university students an opportunity to develop new skills, thereby bringing Stem education to life,” added Stander. The event aims to further education in South Africa and inspire school children to pursue careers in related fields.
This year’s challenge has attracted 14 teams – eight from South Africa and the rest from Japan, the Netherlands, Poland, Hungary, Turkey and Northern Cyprus. From September 24 to October 1, the teams will travel across the country in a bid to clock up the most distance.
The aim is to cover the 2 000km route. To be crowned champion, a team will have to successfully complete the challenge, thereby demonstrating its understanding of engineering and the latest solar technologies.
They must employ complex strategies to ensure their cars can make it across the entire route, notwithstanding intermittent sunlight and challenging hills. The teams must do all of this on public roads, in traffic, and have to comply with all traffic rules.
“The convoy includes about 350 engineers, technicians and experts travelling across the country for eight days.”