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

October 26, 2011

Japanese Team Repeats as Winner of the World Solar Challenge

Photo of sleek car, covered with solar panels, being driven on a road.

The University of Michigan's entry into the World Solar Challenge finished third in the race across the Australian Outback.
Credit: University of Michigan

Japan's Team Tokai won the 2011 Veolia World Solar Challenge, a 1,877-mile solar-powered car race across the Australian Outback, on October 20. Their car, Tokai Challenger2, covered the course from Darwin to Adelaide with an average speed of about 57 miles per hour. Repeating the results of the 2009 event, the Nuon team from the Netherlands took second, and the University of Michigan came in third. The largest field in the history of the event, 42 teams from 21 countries, started the biennial competition on October 16.

The race was first run in 1987, and it was repeated every three years until 1999, when organizers switched it to every other year. It is based on energy management and the concept that a 1,000-watt car can complete the race in 50 hours. The solar vehicles are allowed five kilowatt-hours of stored energy. All other energy must come from the sun or be recovered from a car's kinetic energy. See the Solar Challenge press releasePDF and the World Solar Challenge website.