Panasonic HIT Solar Cells and High-Capacity Batteries to Support Tokai University's Solar Car Team

Aug 24, 2011

Panasonic announced its sponsorship of the Tokai University's solar car team, the defending champion for the World Solar Challenge (WSC) in Australia in 2009, one of the largest solar-powered car races in the world which is held bi-yearly. Under the sponsorship agreement, Panasonic will supply the Japanese university team with its HIT®*1 solar cells boasting the world's highest level*2 of energy conversion rate, as well as its high-capacity lithium-ion batteries.

  • Chapter 1: The Introduction - Panasonic's Report of World Solar Challenge 2011. Scenes of Test-run at Akita Prefecture in Japan on Aug 19, 2011.
    We Will Report Weekly in our Feature Story and Facebook Page to Watch as Tokai University Races to the Finish Line!

What is World Solar Challenge (WSC)?

The solar car race, first held in 1987, sees many teams from universities, corporations and other groups around the world competing to race 3,021 km through central Australia from Darwin in the north to Adelaide in the south. The Tokai University team, who won the last race held in 2009 with its solar car using Panasonic lithium-ion battery cells to store its solar generated power, will look for its second straight win at 2011 WSC, which will be held from October 16 to 23.

[Video] Introduction to the World Solar Challenge

Panasonic's Comprehensive Energy Solution to Challenge this Race

  • 04_solar_team.jpg
    Sponsors and the Solar Car Team at the Press Conference on August 24, 2011
  • 03_solar_panel.jpg
    Solar Panels by Panasonic's HIT Solar Cells

Panasonic HIT solar cells are hybrids of single crystalline silicon surrounded by ultra-thin amorphous silicon layers. With high conversion efficiency, excellent temperature performance and high energy output per unit area, the cells are ideal for obtaining maximum power within a limited space, such as the rooftops of private homes.And this time the HIT cells are perfect for solar cars competing in the WSC because the WSC regulations limit the total area of solar cells installed on the body and the higher efficiency the solar cells are, the better the car can perform.

  • 05_solar_battery.jpg
    Tokai Challenger2 Equipped with the 18650-type High Capacity Lithium-ion Batteries

The batteries Panasonic will be providing are cylindrical 18650-type (18 mm diameter, 65 mm length) high-capacity lithium-ion battery cells having the company's proprietary nickel-based positive electrode. They will be mounted in arrays within a storage battery module. Featuring the industry's highest level of energy density, the battery cell is light, high capacity and long-lasting and enables making battery module lighter. As the WSC also limits the weight of the rechargeable battery module mounted on the solar car, the high capacity and lightweight Panasonic battery cells are favored by many contenders. This year, Panasonic will provide the high-capacity lithium-ion battery cells to five other solar car teams including Delft University of Technology and University of Twente from the Netherlands, Stanford University and University of California from the U.S.A., and Nanyang Technological University from Singapore.

By providing energy solutions to both create electricity from sunlight and to store excess power via a combination of its high-efficiency HIT® solar cells and high-capacity lithium-ion batteries, Panasonic will support the students' challenge in the solar car race even under Australia's harsh weather conditions.

Panasonic will be updating the latest reports on Tokai university team run toward 2011 WSC through this news portal and the below social media accounts (See "Related Links").

*1 As a mass-produced, home-use solar generation system, based on Panasonic's survey (as of March 2011)
*2 HIT stands for Heterojunction with Intrinsic Thin-layer.

  • 01_solar_team.jpg
    Sadaji Tsuge (Back Right End), a HIT Chief Engineer from Panasonic with Tokai University's Professor Hideki Kimura (Front Right End) and the Solar Car Team

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