During our 2021 Virtual Program we celebrate the Past, Present and Potential of the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge.

This 90 minute virtual forum, hosted by Bridgestone World Solar Challenge Event Director, Chris Selwood AM, featured the following guest speakers:

  • Australian Chief Scientist Dr Cathy Foley
  • Emeritus Professor John Storey
  • Ford Australia Senior Engineer Andris Samsons
  • Dr John K Ward
  • Associate Professor Peter Pudney and members of the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge Scientific Faculty (Emeritus Professor John Storey, Dr David Snowdon and Dr John K Ward)
  • Tesla Staff Electrical Engineer Alexandra Boulgakov

Viewers engaged with our speakers, submitting questions related to the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge, regulations, and the upcoming 2023 event.


View the recording of the forum



Bridgestone World Solar Challenge Speakers:

Featured Guest Speakers:

Dr Cathy Foley AO PSM

Australia's Chief Scientist

Dr Cathy Foley AO PSM commenced as Australia’s ninth Chief Scientist in January 2021 after an extensive career at Australia’s national science agency, the CSIRO.

Dr Foley is an internationally recognised physicist with major research achievements in superconductors and sensors which lead to the development of the LANDTEM™ sensor system to locate valuable deposits of minerals deep underground, resulting in discoveries and delineation of minerals worth more than $6 billion.

Dr Foley’s scientific excellence and influential leadership have been recognised with numerous awards and fellowships, including election to the Australian Academy of Science in 2020, along with an Order of Australia for service to research science and to the advancement of women in physics. She is also a Fellow of Australian Academy of Technological Science and Engineering (2008) and an honorary Fellow of Australian Institute of Physics (2019).

Dr Foley is an inspiration to women in STEM across the globe and is committed to tackling gender equality and diversity in the science sector to embrace the full human potential of all.

Andris Samsons

Senior Engineer, Ford Asia Pacific

Andris is a senior engineer who evaluates and signs off vehicle level attribute performance of active safety features at Ford of Australia. His dream career as a car tester is a direct result of his interest and participation in the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge; Andris' solar car journey started in high school with General Motors' Sunraycer educational outreach program in 1988, led him to drive the University of Michigan's Sunrayce 93-entry and continues today as Aurora's lead solar car driver and student mentor.

Andris believes that the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge is the ultimate opportunity for students to develop their skills in a real-world environment and showcase their talents in a globally-recognised design competition.

Outside of work, Andris a is part-time PhD candidate at RMIT University researching the nexus of automotive aerodynamics and industrial design. He mentors a team of students who are designing a low drag sports coupé suitable for production.

After graduating in 1996 from the University of Michigan with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering, Andris joined Robert Bosch North America. In 2006, he earned a Master of Engineering (Management) from RMIT University in Melbourne.

Alex Boulgakov

Staff Electrical Engineer, Tesla

Alex Boulgakov is a Staff Electrical Engineer at Tesla, where she designs power and control electronics for Tesla Energy products, including the Powerwall, Powerpack and Megapack systems. She has contributed to major milestones in the renewable energy storage industry, including the installation of the Hornsdale Power Reserve in South Australia in 2017, at the time the world's largest lithium ion battery. She's passionate about engineering solutions that enable renewable energy adoption, clean transportation, and transition to an emissions-free electric grid.

Alex completed her BE and ME degrees in Electrical Engineering at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, where she was also a key member of the Sunswift Solar Car Racing Team during the 2009 and 2011 World Solar Challenge seasons. She was involved in the team as an electrical engineer, focusing on the vehicle battery and battery monitoring system. She was also one of the race drivers in the 2009 Challenge in the Sunswift IVy car. She views her years in solar car racing as pivotal for her engineering career, providing hands-on technical foundations and mentorship, building confidence, and connecting her to a global network of engineering opportunities