Osaka, Japan - Tokai University's solar car team won the Sasol Solar Challenge South Africa 2012 on September 28 with its solar car mounted with Panasonic Corporation's HIT solar cells and high-capacity lithium-ion batteries. The Japanese university team extended its dominance in the world's longest-distance solar car race as they won all three races held since the inception of the biennial event in 2008.
The team's victory this year followed its win in the 2011 World Solar Challenge held in Australia last year, when Panasonic, as a sponsor, provided the team with its HIT solar cells boasting the world's highest-level* conversion efficiency as well as high-capacity lithium-ion batteries.
The Sasol Solar Challenge South Africa is one of the solar car rallies of the FIA (Federation Internationale de l'Automobile) Alternative Energies Cup events. A total of 14 teams from around the world set off from Pretoria, South Africa's administrative capital, on September 18 to challenge the roughly 4,600 km loop course circling around the country, a grueling course with a maximum elevation difference of about 2,000 m. The Tokai University team returned to Pretoria on September 28, crossing the finish line first at 11:03 am (local time) after driving a total distance of 4,632 km in 71 hours and 13 minutes.
Professor Hideki Kimura of Tokai University, advisor to the solar car team, expressed his joy: "The course was very challenging, long with lots of ups and downs. But the students' teamwork and Panasonic's HIT solar cells and lithium-ion batteries made a formidable combination and brought us our third win in a row. We are more than happy with our achievement - we finished the race 18 hours and 42 minutes ahead of the runner-up."
"The students superbly maneuvered the solar car," said Masato Ito, President, Energy Company of Panasonic Corporation. "They took advantage of our high-performance HIT solar panels and high capacity lithium-ion batteries to the fullest extent and made us proud to be part of the winning team."
Panasonic is a leading provider of energy solutions for homes and businesses. Its HIT solar cells have the world's highest-level energy conversion efficiency for a mass-produced solar cell. Combining HIT cells and its high-capacity lithium ion batteries, the company offers an energy creation-storage linked system, a "smart" energy solution for an ecological and sustainable lifestyle.
*As of February 2012 for a mass-produced residential solar power generation system (Source: Panasonic)
Panasonic Corporation is a worldwide leader in the development and manufacture of electronic products in three business fields, consumer, components & devices, and solutions. Based in Osaka, Japan, the company recorded consolidated net sales of 7.85 trillion yen for the year ended March 31, 2012. Panasonic's stock is listed on the Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya and New York (NYSE:PC) Stock Exchanges. The company has the vision of becoming the No. 1 Green Innovation Company in the Electronics Industry by the 100th year of its founding in 2018. For more information on Panasonic, its brand and commitment to sustainability, visit the company's website at http://panasonic.net/.
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