TEAM | Tokai University Solar Car Team
CAR NAME | Tokai Challenger
COUNTRY | Japan
CLASS | Challenger
The Tokai University solar car team are veterans of the Sasol Solar Challenge, having taken part every year except 2014.
The Japanese team was the challenge’s first international entrant in 2008, winning the inaugural event. They went on to be a strong competitor, winning multiple challenges in SA and globally.
This year they will compete with the Tokai Challenger that was built for the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge last year – where they placed fourth.
The Tokai team are abandoning the typical challenge catamaran-shape this year, challenging themselves to push the limits of technology. Their new mono-hull shape has completed more than 3 000 km, and testing shows good aerodynamics and stability.
The university collaborates with several Japanese companies, and while everything is designed by them, the carbon fibre body is manufactured by the Toray group, and the silicon solar array comes from the team’s main sponsor, Panasonic.
The 170 kg Tokai Challenger has also been fitted with a new motor which is so efficient that less than 5% of the solar power generated through the arrays is lost once it’s converted by the motor.
The team has 60 members, of which two are veterans. General manager Professor Hideki Kimura has been part of the team since its inception in 1991. Kohei Sagawa is a veteran driver, having driven in more than 12 solar challenges. This year he’ll share driving duties with three new students.