Abu Dhabi - Arab Today
The Abu Dhabi Solar Challenge, to be held next January, was announced during the Abu Dhabi Ascent conference on climate change.
Several hundred university students from all over the world will arrive in Abu Dhabi next January and build 20 solar-powered cars from scratch for a 1,200-km race for a better, healthier Earth.
The Abu Dhabi Solar Challenge (ADSC) — the first ever solar car competition to take place in the UAE — was announced during the Abu Dhabi Ascent conference on climate change on Monday. The event will be hosted by Abu Dhabi's renewable energy company Masdar.
"The cars will run purely on solar energy. They are not being made for commercial purposes, but for educational and technological ones,” said Dr Nabih Bedewi, ADSC event director.
The ADSC has already invited 20 of the top university car teams from Australia, Europe, Asia and America through the International Solar Car that runs similar challenges in USA, South America and Asia.
They will be teamed with the UAE universities teams, who will have the opportunity to learn from the best and most experienced of their colleagues. Once the car is built, a team of professionals will test it for four days to ensure its safety.
"We will have students building cars ... and driving them at high speed on the roads ... We will have a team of over 100 people working on this event to ... (ensure) ... everyone's safety,” stressed Bedewi.
The cars itself will have a futuristic look, and will be a sports-type car, rather than the family SUV. Despite the fact that solar-powered engines produce a lot less energy than conventional ones, these students manage to come up with ways to make them faster.
"When I started, the solar car ... (could be) ... driven at 23kmph, but nowadays the cars reach 100kmph,” said Hans Tholstrup, president of the International Solar Car Federation.
He was the first one to build a solar car, the ‘Quiet Achiever', back in 1982, which he drove across Australia. While he was applauded for his efforts, the car itself was not line with car companies' idea of a car, so he invited them all to come up with better designs.
Thus, in 1987, the inaugural World Solar Car Challenge took place. Although none of the cars go into production, they inspire new technology.
"These cars push efficiency and they inspired the electrical and hybrid cars produced today. Many of the students who took part in this challenge are now working for car companies,” said Bedewi.
The deadline for teams registration is August 1. The solar cars will be closely inspected on January 13-14, followed by a qualifying round on January 15 and a four-day race through Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and Liwa, finishing in Abu Dhabi on the last day of the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week.
Source: Khaleej Times