In the summer of 2015, the photographer Stephan Schwabe joins the SolarCar team from Bochum University of Applied Sciences on their trip to Australia. Schwabe’s aim is to create a book about the crew’s participation in the World Solar Challenge (WSC), an unofficial world championship, where biennially the best solar-powered cars race against each other. He quickly realises that the high standard he has set himself to document this unusual event properly is difficult to maintain in view of the local conditions. Back at home in his studio, it turns out that the photos alone are hardly enough to capture the experience on the road. Too much landscape, too much car detail, too much emotion, or really too little of that? Stephan Schwabe teams up with the illustrator Boris Bromberg and instructs him to tell the whole story in text and image, and to show all those details that Schwabe’s pictures cannot reveal: The breakdown, doubt, disappointment, heat, thirst and bad mood. But also the exultation and great happiness. The result is a humorous adventure story, a travel diary and a scientific documentation, all in one. In fact, the main goal of the competition is to promote research and development in the area of electric mobility and attract public attention.
Since 1999, students at Bochum University of Applied Sciences have been developing solar vehicles which are powered entirely by the energy of the sun. So far, a total of six prototypes have been constructed, designed and built. A seventh car is currently being developed which will compete in the race in Australia in 2017. The team from Bochum is one of the largest of its kind in the world. Its SolarWorld GT completed a round-the-world tour and won several prizes and awards. In addition to winning the European Solar Challenge and coming runner-up at the world championship, the team from Bochum was awarded the German Solar Prize in 2015. Three times in a row, they received the Design Award for the most beautiful solar car.
The World Solar Challenge is considered to be the toughest race for solar vehicles in the world. The race runs on public roads for about 3,000 kilometres across Australia from Darwin in the north to Adelaide on the south coast.