Picture: Sakhile Ndlazi
Picture: Sakhile Ndlazi
Picture: Sakhile Ndlazi
Picture: Sakhile Ndlazi
Picture: Sakhile Ndlazi
Picture: Sakhile Ndlazi

Johannesburg - It was systems go - or rather, all engines go - when executive mayor of Tshwane Solly Msimanga waved the solar cars onto the road, for the 2018 Sasol Solar Challenge.

Times Square at Menlyn Maine was a hive of activity with motor and technology junkies. 

Msimanga said the event represents ingenuity, efficiency, hard work and cutting-edge technology. 

"It’s everything we need in the city of Tshwane, and we’re proud to once again host the Sasol Solar Challenge start,” he said.

However, it wasn’t all smooth sailing or driving. The Swiss team had a bit of a struggle at the start of the challenge, when their wheels locked, which delayed their start. 

The Hong Kong team got stuck on the N1 Highway, as they experienced problems with solar panels.

Five South African teams are taking on solar cars from Japan, Hong Kong, the Netherlands and Switzerland as they put chase through the country, powered only by the African sun.

“This is an incredibly challenging event, and we commend all the competitors who have spent months building solar cars and planning for the tough route through South Africa,” said Winstone Jordaan, Sasol Solar Challenge founder and director.

International and local solar car teams will battle it out on South African roads as they try to clock more than 4 500 km of solar-powered distance on the 2018 Sasol Solar Challenge. The current record, held by Dutch team Nuon, was set in 2016 at 4 716 kilometres.

The 2018 event marks a decade of solar car challenges in South Africa, as it runs for the sixth time. The Sasol Solar Challenge sees solar-powered cars from across the world compete to cover the biggest distance across public roads, heading from Pretoria to Sasolburg, heading through Bloemfontein to Gariep Dam, and on to Middelburg and Graaff-Reinet.

The Star