Information on this blog is raw and sometimes unverified reporting straight from the road by teams. The event will issue a media release for any events requiring an official notification.

Note that links in blog entries are not maintained, so while a link may be verified to work on the day of publishing, this is not guaranteed beyond that day.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

EOS: Day 3: Schoolgirls drive their hybrid car to Alice Springs

Here is today's news about Annesley College's EOS Project: the all-schoolgirl team driving their creation - an electric/petrol hybrid Holden Viva - in the Panasonic World Solar Challenge, an event that began in Darwin yesterday and finishes in Adelaide on Saturday.

The Greenfleet Class showcases fuel efficient technologies and low carbon fuels… practical transport technologies of tomorrow.

Annesley is the only all-female team to enter the Challenge. Mortgage Choice is the proud sponsor of their EOS Project, nicknamed 'Lissie'.

TODAY: Monday October 22 – Tennant Creek to Alice Springs

Chocolate wrapper saves the day!
Who would've thought chocolate would be useful when working with auto mechanics? Know we know… Lissie ran into a bit of trouble today when a bit of insulation around a wire in the dash came adrift, so it shorted. Using our heads, we bought some Brazil nut chocolate and used the foil wrapper to fix it!

It worked wonders because the car ran smoothly for the rest of the trip to Alice Springs. Today, Lissie was pushed to 25-30 amps per 90km/hr, meaning we were using about 30% battery (electric) and 70% petrol. We're experimenting more with our little hybrid, for example, cutting out the petrol and going to electric to see how much power we're using. We'll continue to experiment with that until we've refined it.

However, we won't underestimate again the power of a fully electric Lissie because the funniest thing happened after we tried it the first time. Sophie and Jemma decided to go for gold and use 'fuel electrics' after we left Ti Tree (a roadstop boasting its status of 'Australia's most central pub'). Immediately, the electricity kicked in hard and Lissie accelerated a lot and the girls nearly ran up the back of our lead support car!

When retelling the story, EOS Project coordinator Peter Gubbins said with a laugh, 'now THAT got my attention'.

The day started well with two of the Annesley girls being interviewed for radio before we finished packing and set off on our 500km trek to Alice. After the usual morning ritual of a Challenge official giving Lissie a fuel seal check before allowing us to refill, we chatted with other participants also filling up and emptied bags of ice into our eskies while checking the CBs. Then we headed out of a muggy Tennant Creek.

Lots of reading was done today, the chatter having decreased a bit since the beginning of the trip. The heat and length of each day's journey has tamed us in that respect to a certain degree. However, the conversations ramp up once we realise we're stopping to change drivers/navigators or for food or to check out a famous landmark.

Speaking of landmarks, we were all very excited to visit the Devil's Marbles! What an awe-inspiring sight of deep orange asymmetrically round rock formations. Easily towering over you, they are confronting and beautiful at the same time. We took a good 20 minutes to wander around and over them, taking photos and running our hands over the rough surfaces. Mother Nature creates some truly breathtaking sights.

Another interesting stop was the petrol station Joanne Lees was driven to by the truck driver she flagged down after Peter Falconio went missing. The station's interior walls are covered in photos, postcards, international currency, shirts, akubras and strange donations from locals and travellers. We were startled to see a mantle holding jars of pickled outback snakes and a large cat snoozing on the counter.

After the morning's mugginess, the weather was probably the coolest we have encountered on our journey so far. The dusty windshields even saw a sprinkle of rain.

We reached Alice in time for the two-hour public display, where we were interviewed by an enthusiastic local journalist and asked lots of questions by community members. While wandering the display we found some of the Netherlands team lazing in their kiddie pool. Now why didn't we think of that?!

The Annesley team has a well-earned free day tomorrow, relaxing at their campsite in Alice Springs.

NEXT PUBLIC DISPLAY: 8am on Friday 26 October at the Desert Cave Hotel in Coober Pedy.
Visit www.myspace.com/desert_queen_lissie for more information plus photographs.

Enquiries to Kristy Sheppard (Mortgage Choice) - 0407 450 860 OR Peter Gubbins (Annesley) - 0422 231 437 OR Meg Craven (Annesley) - 0412 649 460.
Please reply to this email with 'unsubscribe' if you choose to not receive this daily update.
** Note: Kristy, Peter and Meg are part of the girls' support team and will endeavour to return all calls within 24 hours but there may be occasions when the mobiles are out of range. We appreciate your patience.

Warm Regards

Kristy Sheppard