China Tour 2010 - Prologue

Another adventure is set to begin

If you were the Aurora 101 solar car you would want to be getting home by now. Home being Melbourne, Australia, last seen on 22 March 2010. But your hard driving masters, the Aurora Vehicle Association, want you to undertake a three week tour of China in September before returning to Melbourne some seven months after you left!

Having first travelled to Rio for the Michelin Challenge Bibendum 2010 in May and then racing at Japan’s famous Suzuka Dream Cup in July, the Aurora team could not resist temptation and decided to hop over to China. Not just a quick visit, but a solid three week tour consisting of 14 events across the country. The first stop on 8 September is at Beijing's world-renowned Tsinghua University.

The tour will take in the well-known capital of Beijing, location of the last Olympics as well as glittering Shanghai, the site of the current World Expo. How about Tianjin, Baoding, Jinan, Nanjing, Wuxi, Suzhou and Wuhu? Yes, these major cities, too. The solar car will travel about 2700 kilometres, nearly the distance of the World Solar Challenge that crosses Australia From Darwin to Adelaide in a 3010-kilometre race next scheduled for 16 October 2011. The Aurora 101 solar car will be transported by truck and not be affected by the highly publicised traffic jams and incessant rains that have dominated Chinese news lately. The car's movements in China are managed by Yusen Global Logistics, who have become quite familiar with the blue and white solar race car and its ubiquitous trailer.

This is not the first time that an Aurora solar car has travelled to China, however. In October 2004, the previous Aurora solar car was part of the Michelin Challenge Bibendum held in Shanghai that year. During that event, the Aurora solar car cruised on Shanghai's extensive road system. The car was featured on Shanghai television, set a solar car record on the new Formula 1 circuit and was the favourite car amongst students from Yongji University.

A tour in an unfamiliar country of this size is only possible because of the tremendous assistance offered by the companies, universities, conference organisers and friends who the Aurora team will visit in China. Melbourne's Victoria University and the Chinese government's Energy Research Institute (ERI) are supporting this trip and will host Aurora 101 at their conference in Beijing on 9 September. Futuris and Bosch are assisting in China to promote the tour amongst their own constituencies. Three Chinese universities are welcoming our visit, as are China's major solar cell and solar panel producers.

With the need for increased energy, China is at the forefront of developing sustainable energy resources as well as electric cars and bikes. Aurora looks forward to being impressed and inspired by the pace and vitality of this country. In turn, Aurora seeks to encourage new participants in the field of solar-powered cars and demonstrating how the development of an electric vehicle infrastructure can be boosted through photovoltaic power generation.

Watch for upcoming reports from the Middle Kingdom.