Did Stanford's Solar Car Project build the fastest solar-powered car ever assembled by human hands? Possibly. We'll now for sure when the vehicle, called Xenith, hits the pavement in Australia during the World Solar Challenge. Updated.
The event is held every two years, with changing qualifications proposed by organizers each time, meaning teams must be on their toes to adapt to new rules and regulations. The major change this year was that the driver needed to be seated in an upright position, like a normal gas-powered car. Previous contests allowed the driver to adopt a lying down position for better aerodynamics.
This year's race will stretch 3,000 kiometers from Darwin to Adelaide, Australia between October 16-23.
One glaring omission from the CNET photo gallery: Xenith's "fastest ever" speed. Guess we'll have to wait and see.
Update: Stanford wrote us just now to explain why that omission might be: They never claimed to be the fastest in the first place! Says their PR rep in an email to Gizmodo:
We cannot officially claim to have the world's fastest solar car yet. However, our car has an incredibly efficient motor and we believe that our panels have a chance to break a world record for silicon panel efficiency. We are confident that we are in the running to win the World Solar Challenge this October, but the race hasn't even started yet. That race will be the benchmark for our car and we hope to pursue independently verified tests for speed, motor efficiency, and panel efficiency later in our build cycle.
We've changed the headline of this article to reflect this more accurate information, direct form the source. [CNET]