Placeholder Image

Subtitles section Play video

  • BOTH: Good morning.

  • Yes! You woke me.

  • [BOTH CHUCKLE]

  • Oh, [BLEEP] yes.

  • ANDREW: The outback is pretty challenging.

  • It's pretty hot in the desert sun,

  • and that's sort of why we're out here,

  • because it's so sunny, but, yeah...

  • It's dry, there's very little facilities

  • just because of how rural it is.

  • During the race, we're pulling off,

  • and it's just a dirt patch in the middle of nowhere.

  • So you really have to be self-reliant.

  • In our truck, we bring all kinds of water,

  • all kinds of food and supplies.

  • SIDD: Deep in the outback, the harshest conditions and all that.

  • It's an adventure about putting yourself to the test.

  • And that's as, an engineering student,

  • it's nothing that you would learn at school.

  • Australia is a continent

  • with one of the most unique climates in the world.

  • This is, in fact, the driest continent,

  • which is inhabited by humans.

  • It's a land of extremes.

  • Being out here, you feel the power of the sun.

  • It gets so stinking hot

  • just standing outside of the shade.

  • And of course, it is that very energy

  • which is propelling these cars down the road

  • at incredible speeds.

  • Yeah, the flies are bad,

  • -but nothing can ruin my day anymore. -[BOTH LAUGH]

  • DEREK: It's day three, and the World Solar Challenge

  • is nearly at the halfway point.

  • Teams are running out of time

  • to make their move and catch the current leader,

  • Team Twente from the Netherlands.

  • SIDD: Catching Twente? I don't know.

  • I think they might be too far ahead to catch

  • if everything goes perfectly for them.

  • Um, things don't always go perfectly.

  • So all the leaders are in one tight group

  • and everyone's just trying to break out of that group.

  • Some people may break out of that group

  • in the wrong direction, by breaking down.

  • Do you have a parking brake?

  • Do the parking.

  • Disregard.

  • So, I think we'll learn a lot in the next day

  • to see, uh, which of those teams

  • was maybe pushing their car a little too hard

  • to stay with the leaders.

  • We know it's not us.

  • Um, I think we're gonna continue to pick up the pace.

  • As smooth as possible,

  • -not a sharp... -Yes, yes.

  • -A bit more. -Okay.

  • [SPEAKS FOREIGN LANGUAGE]

  • [DRIES SPEAKING]

  • -Blue! -ALL: Oi!

  • [CLAPPING]

  • DEREK: 8:00 arrives, and day three is underway.

  • As the cars push hard to catch the first place team, Twente,

  • it's important to remember

  • that this is not just a race across the outback.

  • It's a race against

  • the potentially cataclysmic effects of climate change.

  • We all see, the whole world sees

  • that it's going very bad with the planet...

  • and we really need changes.

  • We need to change, uh, the way we live,

  • the way mobility works.

  • DEREK: Started in 1987,

  • the World Solar Challenge was designed as an engine

  • for just such change and innovation.

  • The World Solar Challenge puts out a new set of rules

  • every four years, so,

  • they changed the rules drastically that year.

  • Um, and then, that forces us to innovate,

  • and to create new cars and think out of the box.

  • DEREK: To win, teams must constantly push

  • for new and efficient motors, batteries and electronics,

  • making these cars rolling laboratories

  • for green technology.

  • It's in those rapid pushes of the design

  • that you get this fallout technology

  • that goes into a Tesla or a Toyota Prius.

  • Things like regenerative braking,

  • or motor controller technology.

  • DEREK: Being a part of this long tradition of innovation

  • is a source of pride for these teams.

  • ANDREW: We've been competing in this race for about 30 years.

  • The best finish we've ever achieved was two years ago in 2017.

  • Uh, we took second place.

  • We are the most prominent American team by any standard.

  • Um, so when we come here,

  • we're representing not only our university, but our country,

  • and so, I think we have... there's pressure from everybody back home.

  • to... to put the American flag at number one.

  • The Vattenfall Solar team,

  • it started 20 years ago.

  • There were three students of the Technical University of Delft,

  • and they saw this movie

  • about the World Solar Challenge,

  • And it was this high school in Hawaii, I think...

  • -There they go. -Halle Berry, Jim Belushi...

  • -Yes! -[CHEERING]

  • Race the Sun.

  • They were seeing that movie and they were thinking,

  • "Let's just go for it and build a solar car."

  • The first time they competed

  • in the World Solar Challenge, they won.

  • Since the first race,

  • we've won seven out of nine races

  • and we will try to win it again.

  • [PHILIP SPEAKING]

  • JARNO: This is the eighth time we're competing.

  • That means it all started in 2005

  • with some crazy guys

  • who had a vision

  • and adventure in front of them.

  • After that, unfortunately, we had some difficult times.

  • In 2007, we had a crash.

  • The year after, we also had a fire of the batteries.

  • JARNO: From that point on, we have been building

  • on that experience as well.

  • JASPER: We want to show that solar energy

  • is part of the future.

  • We want to help also promote Belgium

  • as a really technological, advanced country.

  • We are here at the first control stop on day three.

  • This is Alice Springs,

  • an oasis in the middle of the desert.

  • We are now located about 1,500 kilometers from Darwin

  • and 1,500 kilometers from Adelaide.

  • We are at the halfway point of this race.

  • I've been looking at the race tracker

  • and seeing cars jockeying for position.

  • The teams are really going for it

  • and trying to get out ahead.

  • But team Twente is still maintaining

  • a substantial lead over the rest of the pack.

  • Stop.

  • All right.

  • -Well done. -Okay, guys.

  • Told you.

  • DEREK: Team Vattenfall has now arrived in Alice Springs.

  • They are almost exactly 13 minutes back of team 20.

  • It seems to me like no matter what these other teams do,

  • they just cannot close that gap.

  • Great job, great job.

  • -Yay! -[CLAPPING]

  • This morning, we took off from our camping spot

  • and tried to catch up to Vattenfall and Twente

  • who are in place one and place two.

  • But we haven't made a lot of gains yet so far,

  • so, tensions are rising.

  • DEREK: Midday temperatures peak

  • around 105 degrees outside

  • and over 115 degrees inside the cockpits,

  • but teams continue pushing hard.

  • It's just sweltering.

  • It's sweltering outside, it's sweltering inside.

  • I feel sorry for the guys from Sweden.

  • DEREK: 317 kilometers down the road,

  • the teams pass through the next control stop at Kulgera.

  • [CHEERING, CLAPPING]

  • DEREK: But despite all efforts to shake up the race,

  • the top three teams remain locked in position.

  • And soon, there's a new challenge to contend with

  • as the wind starts to pick up.

  • Cars designed for maximum efficiency

  • face a unique danger when it comes to wind.

  • In a normal race car,

  • inverted wing-like structures

  • use airflow to push the car down,