A Japanese racing team has won a global solar car race staged in Australia, covering a distance of over 3,000 kilometres.
According to race officials, the Tokai University team’s journey began on 16 October and concluded yesterday, 19 October.
This was the 11th edition of the World Solar Challenge event, which pitches together cars powered only by captured solar energy. Team Tokai’s vehicle, Challenger 2, was fifth off the starting blocks and assumed an unchallenged lead soon after.
Enviro News has looked at Challenger 2′s predecessor, the Challenger, in previous News coverage, since it was the winner of the 2009 Global Green Challenge.
Tokai Challenger 2
Like the first design, the upgraded Tokai Challenger 2 is a three-wheeled vehicle boasting six square metres of silicon photovoltaic cells, which convert sunlight into electricity. These solar cells are 22 per cent efficient and they’re linked to a five kilowatt-hour battery, which weighs 21 kilograms and gives the Challenger 2 solar car a top speed of around 99 miles per hour.
The World Solar Challenge course presented those driving along it with new obstacles to overcome, this time round. “The excitement of the bushfires, pieces of road closure, clouds, it’s a game changer”, Chris Selwood, race director, told Radio Australia News. “Every hour, every day there’s a game changer, which made it really really exciting and these guys have done really really well to get here in the time that they have.”
World Solar Challenge Winner
Challenger 2 – the World Solar Challenge Winner – came in ahead of the Dutch Nuon Solar Team’s vehicle, with the University of Michigan taking third position. Two years ago, the Challenger’s overall race time was 29 hours, 49 minutes, with an average speed of 62.47mph.
No information’s yet been published giving this year’s statistics but it’s likely to be similar to the 2009 results.
Regardless, the World Solar Challenge has yet again successfully demonstrated the capability and endurance of solar powered vehicles.
Image copyright and courtesy of the Official Veolia World Solar Challenge