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 South Africa and globally.
In 2018 they competed with the Tokai Challenger that was built for the 2017 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge – where they placed fourth.
The Tokai team abandoned the typical challenger catamaran-shape in 2018, challenging themselves to push the limits of technology. Their new mono-hull shape completed more than 3 000km, and testing showed good aerodynamics and stability.
The university collaborated with several Japanese companies, and while everything was being designed by them, the carbon fibre body was manufactured by the Toray group, and the silicon solar array came from the team’s main sponsor, Panasonic.
The 170kg Tokai Challenger was also 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 consisted of 60 members, of which two were veterans. General manager Professor Hideki Kimura has been apart of the team since its inception in 1991. Kohei Sagawa is a veteran driver, having driven in more than 12 solar challenges. In 2018 he shared the driving duties with three new students.
A dramatic upset on the final day resulted in the Tokai University Solar Car team placing second, completing 3,941.4 kilometres after a gruelling eight days.