(Australian Associated Press)
Thirty teams from 17 countries will race from Darwin to Adelaide in the latest instalment of the World Solar Challenge in October.
The 3000-kilometre event is still considered the world’s top event for solar-powered cars with the reigning Challenger Class champions from the Netherlands to start favourites again this year.
Launching the race on Tuesday, director Chris Selwood said the solar challenge was more relevant today than when it was first held in 1987.
“Solar cars are no longer the realm of fantastic, imaginary vehicles dreamed up by enthusiasts and niche inventors,” he said.
“The research and development being tested in this event now makes its way into mainstream commercialisation.
“With the Paris (climate) Agreement deadlines, European bans and phasing out of petrol and diesel cars becoming a reality, the World Solar Challenge is globally significant.”
The Nuon Solar Team has dominated the event, winning all but two since 2001.
This year the team will have a new name, Vattenfall Solar Team, as they take on entrants from across the globe and across Australia.
Local entrants include teams from the University of Adelaide, Flinders University, the University of NSW and Western Sydney University.
The separate Cruiser Class will also return in 2019 with 23 teams from 13 countries.
Cruiser cars feature more practical designs to carry passengers and race over defined stages.
Both events leave Darwin on October 13 with the leading cars in the Challenger class to reach the Adelaide finish line within about four days.