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Tokai University Supported by Panasonic Wins the Sasol Solar Challenge South Africa 2012

Tokai University's Solar Car Team, sponsored by Panasonic, won the Sasol Solar Challenge South Africa 2012 on September 28, 2012! Equipped with Panasonic's top level HIT® solar cell as well as high-capacity lithium-ion batteries, Tokai University's solar car successfully completed the longest distance solar car race in the world held from September 18 to 28, 2012 in South Africa.

Here's an exclusive report on the Sasol Solar Challenge 2012 by our reporter, Viktoriya.

The Sasol Solar Challenge is an epic two-week country-wide endurance challenge. What begins at South Africa's administration capital, Pretoria; continues over a span of four days, all the way to Cape Town. Following a day's rest, the teams travel to East London after passing through the southern coastal line of the country. They then return to Pretoria in 11 days. This year, a total of fourteen teams from around the world challenged this harsh 4,800 km loop. However, not all the teams managed to complete 11-day journey across the country, covering some of the most demanding terrain South Africa has to offer.

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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."

The Sasol Solar Challenge South Africa shows people how advanced solar technology coupled with engineering innovations can contribute in eliminating greenhouse gas emissions. With the abundant sunlight in South Africa, Panasonic is able to make even greater use of renewable energy via its solar technology. This eco-efficiency challenge is an exciting competition aimed at educating people in the areas of science, green innovation and teamwork.

"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."
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Products and Technologies Provided by Panasonic

Panasonic HIT® solar cells are hybrids of single crystalline silicon surrounded by ultra-thin amorphous silicon layers. With high energy conversion efficiency, excellent temperature performance, and high energy output per unit area, the cells are ideal for obtaining maximum power within a limited space. These greatly lift the performance of the solar car in the Sasol Solar Challenge where regulations limit the total area of solar cells that can be installed on the body.

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    The Tokai University Team Charging the HIT® Solar Cells
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    Storage Battery Box Inside of the Car

Panasonic also provided cylindrical 18650-type high-capacity lithium-ion rechargeable batteries. These high-capacity, long-enduring, and lightweight batteries utilize Panasonic's proprietary nickel-based positive electrodes and have the highest level of energy density in the industry. They can operate for long periods of time and can be linked in lightweight battery pack arrays.

Reported by Viktoriya Chamata, Contributor from Panasonic Asia Pacific Pte. Ltd.

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