Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Day 3 Recap

The Team is currently 45 km outside of Cadney Homestead. Today Continuum traveled a total of 700 km with an average speed of 82 km/hr. At Alice Springs, Continuum was in 7th place among Challenge Class vehicles and 16th overall. We were 11 hours and 24 minutes behind Nuon, 10 hours and 2 minutes behind Umicore, 9 hours and 40 minutes behind Aurora, 5 hours and 20 minutes behind Bochum, 4 hours and 26 minutes behind Twente, and 3 hours and 58 minutes behind Soutern Taiwan. Today we have gained 30 minutes on Bochum , 1 hour on Twente, and 50 minutes on Soutern Taiwan. Please keep in mind that we have had 10 hours and 2 minutes of down time from repairs during the first 2 days of the race. Also keep in mind that even if we go through the control stop before a Team they may still be ahead of us due to the way the Alice Springs Control Stop was structured.

The format for the Alice Springs Control Stop was not known by officials or the Teams until 5:30 on Tuesday evening. The way it worked is that when we arrived at 11am on Wednesday morning the first 6 challenge class teams had at least 2 hours of charge time (and as much as 10 hours of charge time) while Teams that arrived after only got 30 minutes of charging. The first 3 Challenge Class teams were spaced out the distance they arrived and then each car after that was spaced out in 10 minute intervals. Challenge Class Teams arriving after that treated it as a normal control stop. Basically the slowest cars were allowed the least charge time and the fastest cars were given the most charge time.

Today we are just outside of Cadney Homestead and teams like Nuon got here at 1:54pm, while Umicore arrived at 3:20 in the afternoon. Continuum arrived later than them, but we had to drive another 220km this morning just to reach Alice Springs. It took us 5 hours and 43 minutes to get to our stopping point from Alice Springs, meaning that we should arrive in Cadney Homestead in 6 hours and 15 minutes. Despite setbacks and only running on half of a battery pack's charge, Continuum is keeping pace with even the lead cars. In general, the crew is focused on regaining ground and is extremely proud to see Continuum making so much progress in such a short amount of time. It’s one thing to build a fast Team, but to have a Team who can take on a challenge this great, clear it, and still be so fast is incredible to be a part of. It’s almost impossible to prepare for what happened on Day 1 despite thousands of miles of testing in light and heavy traffic. To have rebuilt Continuum overnight is fascinating to see. We look to arrive in Adelaide at midday on Friday and we are eager to see how Continuum will perform over the next 2 days.

Go Fast, Go Smooth, Go Blue!



Anonymous Anonymous said...

What an awesome job you folks are doing! Your friends at U of M Credit Union are getting daily updates of your tremendous recovery! We are so proud of you! Keep on rolling fast and smooth!

Jim Kirk

October 24, 2007 at 10:50 AM  
Blogger Guillaume said...

you guys are doing so incredibly well, considering the circumstances.
Good to hear that the weather balloons are working well!

let's keep passing teams!

Go blue!

October 24, 2007 at 2:52 PM  
Anonymous Paul Balestrin said...

Hey Guys
Great to see the car and team doing as well as can be expected. Do you have an ETA for the Pt Augusta Control stop given your average speed etc??? We will be headed out of Adelaide to start the World Solar Cycle Challenge in Ceduna and might just cross paths there if the timing is right.
Be fast, be safe!
Prince Alfred College
Solar Cycle Team

October 24, 2007 at 3:02 PM  
Blogger Tom Carroll said...

Paul, we will most likely camp just north of Port Augusta on Thursday night.


October 24, 2007 at 3:08 PM  
Blogger dearmania said...

just posted...

Thursday, October 25, 2007
Update: Nuon

Nuon advises us that their level of confidence of arriving in Adelaide today is low.

wonder if they'll pass Port Augusta checkpoint before day's end.

can i hope not?

October 24, 2007 at 9:17 PM  
Blogger Maggie said...

Go Team! You have made amazing progress! Very impressive, keep running strong, it must be fun to be passing lots of other teams!

October 24, 2007 at 9:20 PM  
Blogger gjs said...

Did I see right on Stanford's site,that they're trailing their car to Adelaide?

October 24, 2007 at 10:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you guys are awesome!!! don't let the crash get you too down. you have an amazing comeback story no matter where you place. it's totally movie material! be proud of yourselves and know that you did your absolute best and that it was perfect! you have really shown that winning is more than just getting in first.

October 24, 2007 at 10:36 PM  
Blogger dearmania said...

Update: Stanford

We received report from a team member from Stanford that their solar vehicle experienced a mechanical failure and as a result their car rolled.

The report stated that "No-one has been hurt or injured."

The event occurred 371km South of Alice Springs.

at 11:54 a.m.

October 24, 2007 at 10:43 PM  
Anonymous TC Lambert said...

Great blog update. I love it when you give us numbers. Don't suppose you'll tell us Continuum's top speed until after the race. For those not metric nor math inclined, 82 kph is about 51 mph. Think that's about what we averaged last time we drove to Florida. 'Course we stopped for lunch, and to get gas once in awhile.

On Nuna's blog (where they get like 60 comments per blog entry) they mentioned the winds caused them so much yawing that they wore through their left front tire, right "through the canvas." This is the second time they've mentioned driving on a tire worn down to the inner fabric belt. Both times, the tire still held air. They did blow the tire eventually the second time, but we gotta learn the secret of these tires for next time.

Any other secrets UM can steal, er, figure out, would help, too. You gotta hand it to the Dutch team, they know how to go fast. One thing I suspect helped is that they had their car together for testing a lot earlier than Michigan did. Their main website shows a photo of Nuna4 with the array on dated June. Michigan didn't have their array together until a couple of months later. Two extra months of testing, tweaking, fixing, even redesigning might let you find ways to wring a little more speed out of your machine.

I thought the concentrators would provide an edge over them this time, but Nuon's car is pulling away from the pack yet again. Of course, we don't know how Continuum might have performed without a crash.

Last time it was a chunk of metal thrown up in the air by a road train. This time it was running into the lead car. New rule: Don't run into stuff.

Can't tell you how impressed we all are with the recovery after the crash, though. In '05, the dramatic recovery story was MIT rolling their car during track testing, yet still finishing in the top ten. (Sixth, wasn't it?) Their crash was before the race started, though, not during it. The mechanical and electrical crews deserve huge congratulations.

-TC Lambert (

PS. It's a little early for "lessons learned," but I have a feeling we're not going to read this blog as much after the race.

October 24, 2007 at 10:57 PM  
Anonymous TC Lambert said...

Oh, no, Stanford had a race-ending accident! From their blog (Sasha Z reporting):

"The news came in about a half hour ago. Equinox was driving down the road at 80km/h with Eric Ellenoff at the helm when he noticed a mechanical instability. Immediately afterwards, a tire blew, and the car lost control, jack-knifed, and flipped over.

Eric is fine. He walked away completely unscathed.

The car ended up 10 meters from the side of the road, upside down. The left chassis panel was crushed in a few points where the suspension mounted to it. The bulkheads are crushed. The array is probably toast. When flipped back over, the motor still appeared to be delivering torque. The battery pack, after only cursory inspection, still appears to be safe.

The team will be trailering the wreckage to Adelaide."

People are going to think Americans can't drive. But we do build safe cars. Two crashes, no one seriously hurt. Who would believe these super-lightweight flimsy-looking solar cars could be so tough?

October 24, 2007 at 11:33 PM  
Blogger Tom Carroll said...

Well as far as tires go, we actually haven't had a flat during the race yet. I was really sorry to hear about the Stanford accident, but I'm so glad to hear that no one was hurt! It sounded really serious.


October 25, 2007 at 12:39 AM  
Anonymous Paul Balestrin said...

Hi Tom
We will be travelling through Pt Augusta about 9 or 10am will you be there by then????
Would love to catch you guys at the control stop, I'll work my schedule if you can narrow in a closer ETA


October 25, 2007 at 12:42 AM  
Blogger dearmania said...

nuon just left Port Augusta

October 25, 2007 at 12:46 AM  
Blogger Tom Carroll said...

My guess is that we will be spending the night in Port Augusta, so we will be leaving the control stop at 8am tomorrow. The best way to figure out where we are will be to check the WSC website at the end of the day. They should report our location for the night. I should also be getting a call tomorrow morning so I'll see if I can have Brian give you a call.


October 25, 2007 at 12:57 AM  

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