Tokai University Solar Car Team Supported by Panasonic Completes the 3,000km "Bridgestone World Solar Challenge 2017"
Adelaide, Australia - The solar car race, "Bridgestone World Solar Challenge (WSC) 2017," began in Australia on October 8, 2017, and the Tokai University Solar Car Team powered by Panasonic's "HIT(TM)" solar modules and high capacity lithium-ion batteries crossed the finish line in fourth place. (Top class results among teams using silicon solar modules. *Please see column for details.)
This race, which has been held in Australia since 1987 (bi-annually since 1999), begins in Darwin in the north and ends in Adelaide in the south. In 2017, 45 of the best university and corporate teams from 29 countries and regions across the world competed to cover a distance of approximately 3,000km in record time.
The Tokai University Solar Car Team backed by Panasonic did not have a great start, finishing in ninth place during the preliminaries. But their fierce efforts to catch up paid off and they were in first place at one time on the second day, finishing the first part of the race in good form. The third day, the skies were cloudy, so the race became all about endurance; the team had to keep calculating the remaining battery power and make meticulous adjustments to the pace, and their rank dropped to fifth place. But on the fifth and final day, the skies were sunny, and the team gave a good chase, going head to head with Punch Powertrain (Belgium) for third place. However, unfortunately, the team lost by a hair and crossed the finished in fourth place.
The General Manager of the Tokai University Solar Car Team, Professor Hideki Kimura stated, "The solar panel installation surface area was reduced from 6m2 to 4m2, and there were a few regulation changes, so it was difficult to predict how the race would go this year. We were aiming to take back the world champion title, so we're really disappointed, especially since machine performed great, and the students did an excellent job. We hope to win back the title next time."
The overall winner of the race was Nuon Solar Team (The Netherlands) from Delft University.
Panasonic has supported the Tokai University Solar Car Team with its "HIT(TM)" solar modules and high capacity lithium-ion batteries since 2011.
*"HIT" is a registered trademark of the Panasonic group.
Solar car races continue to evolve year after year. This also goes for solar modules. At this race, 2 types of solar modules were used. The solar modules that teams finishing in first through third place used are what are called the "multi-junction compound" solar modules. These are often used for special applications such as outer space. The Tokai University team used "silicon" solar modules, which are mainly used for homes. This year, the race regulations changed and the installation surface area for silicon solar modules decreased from 6m2 to 4m2, so it was a tough challenge for Tokai University. But despite the harder conditions, the team stayed right on the heels of the top teams. Panasonic could not be more proud of the Tokai University Solar Car Team.
Tokai University Solar Car Team
The Solar Car Team of the Tokai University Challenge Center Light Power Project supported by Panasonic is active in one of the world's highest levels of solar car racing.
- 2011 World Solar Challenge 2011 (Australia Race) First Place
- 2012 Sasol Solar Challenge South Africa 2012 (South Africa Race) First Place
- 2013 World Solar Challenge 2013 (Australia Race) Second Place
- 2014 Carrera Solar Atacama 2014 (Chile Race) First Place
- 2015 World Solar Challenge 2015 (Australia Race) Third Place
- 2016 Sasol Solar Challenge 2016 (South Africa Race) Second Place
- 2017 World Solar Challenge 2017 (Australia) Fourth Place
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