The Bridgestone World Solar Challenge Tests the Boundaries of Energy Efficiency

C.H. Robinson is full of people you can rely on who are always up for a challenge. On a daily—and sometimes hourly—basis, our local experts in offices around the globe help ensure logistics problems are resolved in real-time. Like the students and teams who compete in the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge, our people never back down from a challenge. This year, C.H. Robinson’s teams in Singapore and Australia are providing the logistics solutions those same students have with their solar car challenge. 


Pushing the limits of technological innovation 

Now in its 32nd year, the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge is a biennial solar-powered car race from Darwin to Adelaide, Australia. Teams of students from universities around the world engineer and build solar powered vehicles meant to traverse 3,000 km. in the harsh conditions of the Australian outback. And they only have six days to do it.

For the 2019 competition, our Singapore and Australia offices are indirectly participating in the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge through a joint sponsorship of Singapore Polytechnic’s Solar Car SunSPEC 6 Team.


Balancing streamlined design with commercial performance

The engineering students of Singapore Polytechnic have entered the SunSPEC 6 into the 2019 competition. The SunSPEC 6 is in the cruiser class, a class featuring next-generation two-seater vehicles, fully powered by the sun.

The team, which includes both students and lecturers, built the SunSPEC 6 with the philosophy of building an efficient solar-electric vehicle that would perform similarly to a commercially available passenger vehicle.

The sleek red vehicle will remind some of a streamlined sports car. They focused on a low center of gravity to provide solid stability at high-speeds. And of course, the team made sure to include an in-car entertainment system for the passengers travelling in the vehicle.

The 2019 challenge will be the school’s fourth time participating in the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge. As the sole Singapore team in the event, they will face 46 other teams from around the world, including many well know universities, including Stanford, Eindhoven, Cambridge, and Tokai.


Scoping out the logistics requirements

While the official race doesn’t start until mid-October, the logistics challenges begin much sooner. Before the vehicle can survive the outback, our Singapore and Australia teams will be navigating quarantine, customs, scrutineering, and safety inspections to ensure the car is ready for the race to begin.

As part of our sponsorship of the SunSPEC 6, C.H. Robinson’s experts will transport the vehicle and necessary equipment for the challenge from Singapore to Adelaide, Australia, and back again. This includes customs clearance in both countries (as a temporary import/export) as well as storage of the shipping container until the race begins.

As the container will travel more than 5,000 km. from Singapore to Australia, our teams began transporting the vehicle in early August. The expectation is that the vehicle will reach Adelaide in early September. This will provide plenty of time for C.H. Robinson to resolve any unforeseen delays and the Singapore Polytechnic team to inspect the vehicle before race day.


Driving smarter solutions

The SunSPEC 6 and other participating vehicles will be a showcase of engineering and technological excellence. Not only does the event raise public awareness about renewable energy and sustainable transportation, the ingenuity of the students and their vehicles hold the key to inspiring the next generation of innovators, engineers, and even logistics experts.


Interested in innovative logistics solutions? Connect with a C.H. Robinson expert today.

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