12 Feb 2021

Bridgestone World Solar Challenge 2021 update

The 16th edition of the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge – the world’s premier event of its kind – will not go ahead from 22-30 October this year.

Events South Australia executive director Hitaf Rasheed said that despite best efforts and extensive scenario planning, the complexities of international border closures for an event that would need to bring in around 630 international participants in 2021 (traditionally around 900), prompted the difficult decision.

“We are deeply disappointed for the dedicated group of university students who hoped to join us for the 2021 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge,” Ms Rasheed said.

“We know how hard they have worked towards this goal and are determined to recognise their efforts.”

Ms Rasheed said it was important to provide certainty for teams as soon as possible due to the long lead times and logistical requirements associated with participants and cars travelling to Australia. She said the decision to cancel followed extensive consideration of all possibilities for staging the next event.

Options to engage Australian and international Bridgestone World Solar Challenge entrants later this year are now being considered.

“We will continue to work with the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge community on virtual initiatives to showcase the solar vehicles currently under construction,” Ms Rasheed said.

Ms Rasheed thanked Bridgestone World Solar Challenge commercial partners – particularly Bridgestone Corporation and the Northern Territory Government – for their ongoing support.

Bridgestone World Solar Challenge Event Director Chris Selwood AM recognised the resilience of the teams.

“Our event thrives on the optimism and ingenuity of the students who take part,” Mr Selwood said.

“The importance of refining electric vehicles and their associated technologies has never been greater – and we want to honour everyone working so diligently in pursuit of that goal. We understand this news will be taken hard.”

The state government, through the South Australian Tourism Commission, remains steadfastly committed to the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge. The Bridgestone World Solar Challenge is a biennial event and is next scheduled to take place in October 2023.

The event is owned and managed by the South Australian Tourism Commission on behalf of the South Australian Government. Since 1987 it has welcomed great international minds to Australia for the chance to push the limits of technological innovation and travel the outback in a vehicle powered only by the sun.

In 2019 the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge celebrated 32 years and welcomed a record 43 teams from 21 countries. In 2021 a total of 630 international participants, and 26 international teams from 20 countries were expected to travel to Australia for this event.

See worldsolarchallenge.org for more information.