The Sun Cup Challenge sounds like something you might find in a Mario Kart video game, next to the Mushroom Cup and Star Cup, but the reality is much more significant.

This year, the Sun Cup Challenge is a competition within the mighty Baja 1000 race, where competitors tackle a thousand miles of sun and desert on the Baja peninsula in Mexico.

What sets the Sun Cup participants apart is their choice of power--electric propulsion, using solar-generated electricity.

For most vehicles, the Baja is a struggle to even complete, with only 49 percent of starters making the finish, and solar-powered electric vehicles competing in the Sun Cup Challenege will be the first of their kind to do so.

It's all about proving that electric vehicles can compete against--and beat--their fossil-fueled counterparts.

With electric cars also competing at high levels in this year's Pikes Peak International hill climb, and with a hybrid vehicle winning at Le Mans back in June, we're now at a point where alternative-fuel vehicles aren't just more efficient than their regular cousins, but potentially quicker too.

What's more, development in the harshest of conditions can only benefit future road cars--just as racing has always proven.

The 2012 Baja 1000 runs from Ensenada to La Paz, and takes place from November 14-17.


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