Veolia World Solar Challenge

State of Sustainable Racing 2012 Case Study


Several solar race events have been organized since 1987.  The race that has emerged from these early beginnings is the World Solar Challenge that takes place in Australia every two years.  The challenge attracts teams who have designed and built solar-powered vehicles to transport them on public roads for a distance of 3000km from Darwin to Adelaide.  Participants are typically research teams from universities around the world and even company-sponsored teams.  In 2011, there were 11 teams who competed in the challenge.


  • Vehicle Type:  Any Solar-powered vehicle
  • Fuel/Energy Source:  Solar and Kinetic Energy
  • Years in Production:  Since 1987
  • Sponsors: Named Sponsor for 2011 is Veolia Environmental Services. Other sponsors include Internode, Michelin, Citizen, KBR, CSIRO, Mount Franklin Spring Water, Northern Territory Government, Adelaide City Council, and Darwin City Council. The pioneer sponsors are the Government of South Australia.

Performance Metrics

Average top speed in 2011 was 91.4 km/h (56.88 mph). Speed limit Australia is 68 mph.

World Solar Challenge Average Speeds

Race Rules

Unique criteria or specifications include the following:

  • Teams must be fully self-sufficient.
  • Vehicle must pass an inspection to ensure its structural integrity is fit for purpose.
  • Teams stop each day at 5pm and must make camp for the night.
  • Teams must pass seven checkpoints throughout the route.
  • Teams must submit schematics of electrical circuits and batteries prior to the race.
  • No auxiliary panels are allowed on the vehicle.
  • All energy to power the vehicle must come from the sun or must be powered by kinetic energy created by the motion of the vehicle.
  • All vehicles must be equipped with a satellite-tracking device.

Learn More

World Solar Challenge Website

Research by Dominican University’s Green MBA Program

Authors: Jake Baker, Robin Carew, Diana Connolly, Jack Decker

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