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Relive the Epic Journey-People and the Environment Blog

At 19day In December 1982, the solar car “The Quiet Achiever” driven by Hans Tholstrup set off from Scarborough Beach in Perth and began a journey across the country.It arrived at the Sydney Opera House on the 7thday In January 1983, it became the first vehicle to travel across the mainland using only solar energy. Now, a Japanese team has started a project to build a “Quiet Achiever II”.

The team of the Solar Car Archaeology Institute plans to build a solar car based on the original “Quiet Achiever” design, but incorporating the latest technology. As part of the research, the team visited the museum, witnessed how the original Solar Trek car was designed, and met with Hans Tholstrup, a man who conceived a transcontinental solar journey.

Hans Tholstrup and Satoshi Maeda from the Solar Car Archaeological Institute, next to the “Quiet Achiever” in the Mitchell Repository of the National Museum.Photo: George Silas

The Solar Trek Challenge is not Hans Tholstrup’s first large-scale adventure. In 1970, he traveled around Australia in a 4.9-meter speedboat. Some of his other adventures include traveling around the world in a single-engine airplane alone, crossing the Bass Strait on a mini-motorbike tied to a rubber dinghy, riding a motorcycle around the world in 27 days, driving from the northernmost point of Europe to Africa At the southern end, take a speedboat across the North Atlantic.

Tholstrup conceived the idea of ​​solar energy travel across the continent to increase people’s understanding of solar energy and stimulate research on solar energy. The project is sponsored by BP, which provides photovoltaic solar modules for powering vehicles through its subsidiaries. Champion racer Larry Perkins and his brother Garry designed and hand-built “The Quiet Achiever” and shared driving responsibilities with Hans Tholstrup during the journey.

The museum acquired “The Quiet Achiever” in 1984. It complements the museum’s collection of historical vehicles, including carriages and carts, bicycles, airplanes, boats, and some of America’s most important automobiles.In fact, “quiet achievers” are placed in a somewhat suitable place, with Francis Birtles’ Bean CartHis historic journey across the Australian continent in 1912 from Fremantle to Sydney in 1912 provided some inspiration for Hans Tholstrup’s 1982 Sun Journey adventure.

Hans Tholstrup talks with the Japanese film crew about the “Quiet Achiever” with Francis Bilters’ Bean car in the background.Photo: George Silas

“The Quiet Achiever” tells a number of key themes of the museum, including the history of scientific innovation, exploration, the relationship between people and the environment, and the future challenges of energy shortages and carbon pollution.

The transcontinental nature of the journey is also the central theme of many feats and events of great significance to the country: of course, Australia’s first ethnic groups developed and maintained social connections and trade routes on a transcontinental scale; the construction and development of land telegraph lines Pan-Australian Railway Is a huge engineering feat spanning the entire continent; when successfully crossing the continent John McDowell Stewart Considered a major achievement, tragedy Burke and Wells And failed attempts Ludwig Leichart In Australia’s collective memory, life across the continent from east to west is equally important.

Chris Sellwood was interviewed in front of the “Quiet Achiever” at the Mitchell Museum at the National Museum.Photo: George Silas

An enduring legacy of Tholstrup and Perkins’ Solar Trek journey is the World Solar Challenge, which is derived from the event and brings together some of the brightest people from all over the world to participate in the Australian solar competition every two years. The goal of the competition is to promote the research of solar energy technology. It started in 1987 with 13 contestants from five countries, and in 2015 it attracted 43 teams from 13 countries.

The competition is now managed by Chris Selwood, who accompanied Hans Tholstrup to the museum to meet the members of the “Quiet Achiever II” project team. They plan to participate in the 2017 World Solar Challenge.

“The Quiet Achiever” showcases the potential of individuals and organizations to innovate and seek solutions to key issues such as global warming and future energy demand. As Hans Tholstrup said before his pioneering journey in 1982, “We hope that by making this 4,000-kilometer BP Solar Trek, we will inspire people to solve any problems before us… Solar energy, then this adventure It will be very worthwhile”.

Featured image: BP Solar Trek car: “Quiet Achiever”, National Museum of Australia. Photo: George Silas.

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