19 July 2012
Panasonic Corporation today announced its sponsorship of Tokai University’s solar car team competing at the South African Solar Challenge 2012 (SASC), the longest distance solar car race in the world, 17-29 September.
Panasonic helped the Japanese university team to victory at the 2011 World Solar Challenge in Australia, when the company provided its HIT solar cells and high-capacity lithium-ion batteries.
This year’s third South African Solar Challenge, a bi-annual event first held in 2008, will see solar-powered cars compete driving on a challenging course, an approximately 5,000km loop around almost the entire circumference of the Republic of South Africa. The course, starting and ending in the northeastern city of Pretoria, is not only the world’s longest, but also has a maximum elevation difference of roughly 2,000m.
At the previous SASC event held in 2010, the Tokai University solar car team defended its victory, using Panasonic's high-capacity lithium-ion batteries. The team will seek to extend its winning streak to three in the SASC this year, with a solar car equipped with the high-capacity lithium-ion batteries as well as HIT solar cells.
Panasonic HIT solar cells are hybrids of single crystalline silicon surrounded by ultra-thin amorphous silicon layers. With high conversion efficiency, 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. HIT cells are also suited for solar cars competing in the SASC because its regulations limit the total area of solar cells installed on the car body.
Panasonic is also providing cylindrical 18650-type (18mm diameter, 65mm 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. The battery cell is light, high capacity and long-lasting, and enables making battery module lighter.