SYDNEY – The Dutch team Nuon Solar won on Thursday the World Solar Challenge, with its vehicle being the first to complete the 3,021-kilometer (1,877-mile) race in the Australian desert.
The team’s victory was announced on its Twitter feed by its supporters as it crossed the finish line around noon, and by Nuon Solar itself as it tweeted “WORLD CHAMPIONS!!! #BWSC17”
The race, which promotes the development of solar cars on a planet threatened by climate change, began its 30th edition on Sunday from the northern city of Darwin to Adelaide in the south.
With a total of 41 participants from all over the world, the Dutch car clocked in at about 37 hours and 10 minutes with an average speed of 81.2 kilometers per hour (50.4 miles per hour).
The team, comprising students of the Netherlands’ Delft University of Technology, has won every Challenger Class race since 2001 except for two occasions (2009 and 2011), when they came in second place behind Japan’s Tokai University team.
Even after the race finished, the power of Nuon Solar’s vehicle was evident and the team tweeted “Btw, we have half a battery charge left, enough to charge 250 phones.”
The team from the United States, Novum, from the University of Michigan, finished in second, while Belgium with its Punch Powertrain came in third.
Germany, Canada, South Korea, Hong Kong (China), India, Iran, Japan, Poland, Singapore, South Africa, Sweden, Thailand, Taiwan and Turkey are the other countries that participated in the race which began in 1987, inspired by an idea of the Danish adventurer Hans Tholstrup, in order to promote the development of solar vehicles.
The winner in 1987 was General Motors’ Sunraycer, which traversed the continent with an average speed of 67 kph.
Renewable energies, including solar energy, contribute significantly in combating climate change, one of the greatest challenges facing humanity in the 21st century.