This morning we set out under clear blue skies for Alice Springs, still 194km down the road, the battery pack somewhat refreshed after collecting the afternoon and morning sun.
With good sun and energy in the batteries we sat on 60kph for the first hour until the sun was higher and then cranked Kelly up to 80kph. The last 20km into Alice was a steep down hill section, which gave us some experience using regeneration, where we use the motor to slow down the car and pump energy back into the battery pack.
As we approached Alice Springs we were informed that our cruiser towing the gear trailer had rolled over 65 km north of Alice Springs. We were told that everyone was alive but we weren’t sure who was in the car or what injuries they had received.
We arrived in Alice Springs just before 11:30am and discovered we would be held over until 2pm. We left the car to soak up the midday sun and to get a sigificant charge up on the batteries.
As we waited we received more news about the accident and established one occupant was ok and another had some kind of injury. Both were being transported to hospital in an ambulance.
Some of our gear turned up in one of the official’s cars but most of it was being picked up by the remaining support vehicles.
After arranging all of the details for the damaged vehicles and filling out the paperwork, our manager visited the hospital to check on how our comrades were going.
At 2pm we set off from Alice Springs with the battery two thirds full and decided to to make as much distance as possible.
We drove quickly through the hills south of Alice Springs and progressed quickly during the rest of the afternoon. We had the excitement of overtaking another team, a difficult manoeuvre considering we had to get all three of our vehicles past the three vehicles of the other team on a winding road with road trains going in both directions.
We caught up with another team late in the afternoon and were informed they had heard about the accident with our support vehicle. They kindly offered us hospitality and later in the evening they loaned us a barbecue.
As 5pm approached we found ourselves too far from the next campsite we had marked on our gps system and decided to park on the side of the road. We found an area where we could safely get the car off the road just in time. Even so, the area was covered with bindis and we got several tire punctures in our fragile tires. We were in the middle of no where with a solar car, two sedans and no bedding or shelter or food so some of us went to the nearest town to get some supplies while the rest of us built a camp fire. The others soon returned with bbq meat packs and some chips and drinks. Some of the team visited the “Christine” the Aurora team entry which was 2 kilomeres up the road. They were fantasic, providing us with a bbq and utensil . With the barbecue we borrowed we cooked our dinner.
At about 11pm the other vehicles arrived and we learned that our team mates who were in the accident were going to be ok. One had returned to us only a little bruised while the other had some stable injuries from which he would recover and was being held in the hospital overnight. He was scheduled to be flown back to Adelaide the next day.