From the 18th till 25th of October, the World Solar Challenge took place in Australia with 47 participating teams from 25 countries. In the qualification rounds before the race, the Punch One achieved 4th position. From the start it was clear the solar car of Leuven University students would battle for the podium, maybe even for victory! After a long first day of exciting racing and 632 km of race roads the team finished in 5th position. The entire day the Punch One was in front of the race, sometimes even on second position.
The differences amongst the top 5 teams was very small this year. After the challenging 3022 km race the difference between the winner (Nuon Solar Team from TU Delft) and number five (Punch One from the Punch Powertrain Solar Team by the KU Leuven) was less than 1 hour and 23 minutes. This is a much smaller gap compared with the previous World Solar Challenge, when the Belgian team was still 7 hours behind the winners.
The detailed Analysis of achieved vehicle speeds and energy consumption values showed how close the Punch Powertrain Solar Team was to victory. However, the strong competition from the Netherlands, Japan and the USA did not allow any room for errors or misfortune. Unfortunately, the Punch One team suffered a 1 hour penalty for a manoeuver involving a press vehicle of the Belgian team and some small repairs that also took about an hour.
The technical progress made by the 2015 Punch Powertrain Solar Team and the lessons learned during the race provide the next team with the necessary foundations to finish on the podium in the next World Solar Challenge in 2017.