Tokai University announced the victory in the "Global Green Challenge"
Tokai University announced the victory in the "Global Green Challenge"
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The "Tokai Challenger" solar car
The "Tokai Challenger" solar car
[Click to enlarge image]

Tokai University announced that it became the overall champion in the solar car category of the "Global Green Challenge," one of the world's largest green car races, which took place from Oct 25, 2009, in Australia.

The university participated in the "Challenge Class," which started in 2007. And Osaka Sangyo University's "OSU Model S'" won the race in the "Adventure Class," which is for vehicles that meet vehicle specifications established before 2006, with a time of 34 hours 45 minutes.

In the Global Green Challenge, green cars run about 3,000km from Darwin to Adelaide, and the first car that arrives at the destination wins the race. The "Tokai Challenger," a solar car developed by Tokai University, finished in fourth place in the preliminary race but won the main race without any major trouble with a driving time of 29 hours and 49 minutes (in four days) and an average speed of 100.54km/h.

The "Nuna V," which is a vehicle driven by the Netherlands' Nuon Solar Team and won the race in four consecutive times in the past, came in second place with a time of 32 hours and 38 minutes. And University of Michigan Solar Team's "Infinium" took third place with a time of 33 hours and 8 minutes.

Commenting on the factors contributing to the victory, Hideki Kimura, professor at Tokai University School of Engineering, cited the high power solar cell provided by Sharp Corp, the CFRP (carbon fiber reinforced plastic) body that is lighter than competitors' bodies, the high-efficiency drive-train and the fact that there was hardly any trouble during the race.

The Tokai Challenger is mounted with 6m2 of space solar cells that have a conversion efficiency as high as 30% as a module. Its output is about 1.8kW. There is no limit to the output of motor. Therefore, as the output of solar cell increases, it becomes possible to use a motor with a higher output.

Tokai University developed an in-wheel type brushless direct-current motor for its green racing car in collaboration with Mitsuba Corp, Nippon Chemi-Con Corp, Jtekt Corp, etc. It is a direct drive motor, which does not have a decelerating mechanism, and iron loss was reduced by using amorphous magnetic steel sheets.

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