Interestingly, the Nuna team developed its own production process.
"We started by having the plugs milled to the correct dimensions. These are then covered with gelcoat and, after that, mold resin. These two layers can then be pulled off the plugs to obtain molds for the car. In these molds, we did the final carbon fiber layup by hand using dry TeXtreme fabric and DSM Turane resin."
In the World Solar Challenge, competing teams race from Darwin to Adelaide, more than 1,800 miles away. Based on the idea that a 1,000W car would complete the journey in 50 hours, solar cars are allowed a nominal 5kW-hours of stored energy, which is 10 percent of that theoretical figure. All other energy must come from the sun or be recovered from the kinetic energy of the vehicle.
Once the teams have left Darwin, they must travel as far as they can each day until 5:00 p.m., when they make camp in the desert.
During the journey, there are seven checkpoints, where observers are changed and team managers may update themselves with the latest information on the weather and their own position in the field. Here teams may perform the most basic of maintenance only, such as checking tire pressure.
There are 21 teams entered in this year's event, including the MIT Solar Electric Vehicle Team, the Stanford Solar Car, and CalSol, the University of California/Berkeley Solar Vehicle. Another entry, the Ra 7, comes from Principia College, a liberal arts school in Elsah, Ill. Lack of an engineering department is not a deterrent; the Ra 7 is custom built by Principia students with majors ranging from physics and computer science to English and graphic design.