First Week in Australia

Greetings from Adelaide!┬áStanford Solar Car and Luminos have arrived in the land down under. This is what we’ve been up to in our first week here.

The few members arrived on Monday, September 9th. After picking up one of our borrowed vehicles from the Volkswagen dealership, they headed promptly to the freight terminal near the Melbourne Airport to retrieve our solar car, which had been air-shipped by Virgin Australia. Luminos had crossed the ocean and cleared customs in record time (for our team), and was already waiting by the time any of us arrived in Australia. Air shipping is great!

Luminos patiently awaits us at the freight terminal

Luminos was well-protected by the many layers of bubble wrap and foam that we had taped in place. We loaded the car onto our rented U-Haul flatbed trailer, which we were able to store at the freight terminal for another night. The trailer was to eventually become a large enclosed crate for towing the car and some equipment, but this had yet to be built.

We picked up two more vehicles from the VW dealership, retrieved Luminos, and then spent the next two days building a crate on the trailer bed. This was all done in the back of a Bunnings (think Australian Home Depot) parking lot near the airport.

Work on the trailer in a Bunnings parking lot in Melbourne

We built the very basics of what would later become a much more elaborate crate. Additions to the crate and work on the car we would wait until we reached Adelaide. Our plan was to leave Melbourne as soon as this was travel-ready.

The next team members arrived in Melbourne on September 12th. We picked up Darren and Rachel from the airport, and then immediately headed for Adelaide on the Great Ocean Road. We allotted two days to complete the 9 hour drive, stopping to see the 12 Apostles, South Ocean beaches, and to otherwise just enjoy the gorgeous springtime coastal scenery.

Arrival in Adelaide happened the next day. Wesley, Harry, and Ian dropped off the Touareg and trailer at the VW dealership where we would be working for the next few days, and our group reconvened downtown to catch some Aussie rules football.

Light painting with Luminos in the Solitaire warehouse in Adelaide

Saturday, Sunday, and Monday consisted of work on the car, trailer, and everything in between. We’re stationed at the Solitaire Automotive Group’s End Mile location in Adelaide, where they have generously allowed us their garage space and conference room to work in. This is a big step up from the Bunnings parking lot, and we’re immensely grateful for the great work environment we have here.

Our Touareg with completed trailer in tow

At this point we’re focused on preparing the trailer and convoy for desert testing in the outback and for the race itself. Tasks include completing construction of the trailer, reassembling the car’s suspension, outfitting the vehicles with radio and warning lights, reseating tires, installing shelving in the two Caddy Maxi vans, and more. The remainder of the Australia crew (with the exception of two members meeting us in Darwin) arrived in Adelaide on Sunday the 15th and were immediately hard at work on race and testing preparations.

Darren and Greg work on reassembling and torquing to specifications the car’s suspension

At this point, we’re looking to head to the outback tomorrow, September 18th, to begin desert testing. We’ll drive around improving our strategy model and training our race crew for a week or two, and then head to Darwin for scrutineering before the race.

Thanks for keeping up with us, and check back soon for more updates.
See you back out in the outback!



  • Avatar
    John Shen
    Posted at 21:25h, 16 September Reply

    good luck guys!

  • Avatar
    Posted at 22:06h, 21 September Reply

    I saw either a video or news report on this car, can’t remember which it was. It’s amazing though.

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