2011 Victorian Model Solar Vehicle Challenge

by Avvy
Publish date
28 October 2011
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Avvy is a Programs Officer at Scienceworks. She develops science-related activities and shows for visitors, and organises various community science events.

There was an assortment of chills, thrills and spills at the 2011 Victorian Model Solar Vehicle Challenge held at Scienceworks on Saturday 22 and Sunday 23 October.

ariel shot Scienceworks Arena is transformed for the solar vehicle challenge.
Source: Dione Read

This competition, now in its 19th year, brings together teams of school students from all over Victoria to race solar powered model cars and boats that they have designed, built and tested throughout the year. The two-day event allows participants to discover who is the ‘fastest under the sun’.

Two solar boats prepare to race. Two solar boats prepare to race.
Source: Museum Victoria

In what has almost become tradition for this solar-powered event, the weather on Saturday morning was overcast, cold and drizzly. This did nothing to dampen the spirits of over 700 students and their supporters, fiercely competing in a number of different divisions – primary school teams start their model solar education building junior boats, while the more complex cars and advanced boats are usually built by secondary school students. Teams spend several months building their vehicles, working with science and technology teachers, parents and lab techicians.

Two solar cars Two solar cars competing on the race track.
Source: Museum Victoria

Taking on the challenge Taking on the challenge, one of the solar cars that competed at Scienceworks
Source: Museum Victoria

The patchy conditions and rain over Saturday led to some accidents, as cars that had been tweaked to deal with low levels of sunlight found it hard to maintain a solid grip on the slippery track, while other cars had difficulties to facing the challenging slope of the track. However, Sunday dawned bright and sunny, allowing the solar vehicles to perform at their zippy best – sometimes to their detriment, with some speedy cars losing grip when cornering and spilling off the track.

Scienceworks Arena is transformed for the solar vehicle challenge. Scienceworks Arena is transformed for the solar vehicle challenge.
Source: Museum Victoria

After many rounds of knockout races, ‘Comet’ from Geelong College emerged victorious in the car division. ‘Rainbow Warrior’ from Ruskin Park Primary was the winner of the junior boats category, while ‘Interim Name’ from Torquay College took the trophy for advanced boats. These top competitors will receive invitations and sponsorships to attend the national championship in Hobart in November.


Victorian Model Solar Vehicle Challenge

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Updates on what's happening at Melbourne Museum, the Immigration Museum, Scienceworks, the Royal Exhibition Building, and beyond.