This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

November 11, 2009

Japan's Tokai University Solar Car Wins the Global Green Challenge

Photo of a team of young adults with their hands in the air and smiling, holding a sign that says 'Adelaide Australia.' In front of them is a solar car, a flat, low, square vehicle with a bubble near the rear for the pilot's head. The top of the vehicle is covered in solar cells.

The team from Japan's Tokai University celebrates their win at the Global Green Challenge.
Credit: Sharp

The "Tokai Challenger" solar car from Japan's Tokai University won the 3,000 kilometer Global Green Challenge race down the center of Australia on October 28. The solar car maintained an average speed of more than 100 kilometers per hour, or about 62 miles per hour, besting the winner of the previous four races, the Dutch Nuon Solar Team. The event is an expansion of the World Solar Challenge, a solar vehicle race from Darwin to Adelaide that is held every two years. As the Global Green Challenge, the race now also showcases hybrid, electric, and other alternative energy vehicles. This year's competition ran from October 25 to 29.

The winning entry was equipped with Sharp multijunction solar cells developed for satellites. According to the manufacturer, the car's solar cells have a combined output of 1.8 kilowatts and a solar conversion efficiency of 30%. The University of Michigan's Infinium car, which finished third, was given the Technical Innovation Award. Among Infinium's technical innovations is a lithium-ion battery pack developed by A123 Systems. Meanwhile, non-solar cars competed in the "Eco Challenge" to demonstrate the levels of efficiency they could achieve on a closed highway. Among the notable achievements: an all-electric Tesla Roadster set a record distance of 313 miles on a single charge. See the Global Green Challenge Web site and press releases, the University of Michigan Solar Car Web site, and the press releases from Sharp and Tesla Motors.