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August 2, 2010

Tokai University’s Solar Car Equipped with Sharp Solar Cells Enters a Race in the Republic of South Africa

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The “Tokai Challenger,” a solar race car equipped with Sharp solar cells, has officially registered to be in the South African Solar Challenge 2010. The Tokai University team and their solar car participated in and won a solar car race that was held in Australia last year, the Global Green Challenge*1.

The South African Solar Challenge 2010 is a race where vehicles, powered only by the sun’s energy, drive a 4,087-km loop in the Republic of South Africa. Tokai University drivers will include Kenjiro Shinozuka, who in 1997 became the first Japanese to achieve overall victory in the Paris to Dakar Rally, as well as Tokai University students and alumni.

The “Tokai Challenger” solar car is equipped with Sharp compound solar cells developed for outer space applications. The cells have an output of 1.8 kW and a cell conversion efficiency of 30%, the highest level in the world*2.

Sharp is the only manufacturer whose solar cells are approved for use by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). Sharp will continue pushing forward with R&D on compound solar cells, in addition to crystalline and thin-film solar cells, which are currently Sharp’s main solar power products.

Overview of the South African Solar Challenge 2010
Race duration: September 22, 2010 (Wed) to October 2, 2010 (Sat)
Race course: A 4,087-km loop in the Republic of South Africa
Organized by: Advanced Energy Foundation (Section 21) and others

Overview of the Tokai University Team

The team, named Tokai University Challenge Center Light Power Project, is led by Professor Hideki Kimura, who researches high-efficiency solar cars at the Tokai University School of Engineering’s Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering. The team for this year’s race is mostly comprised of university students. In 2008, with Kenjiro Shinozuka as driver, the team participated in the South African Solar Challenge and emerged the overall winner of that race. Also, they have participated four times in a race that takes place in the desert regions of Australia, the World Solar Challenge (renamed in 2009 to the Global Green Challenge), in 1993, 1996, 2001, and 2009. In 2009, they took first place with a two-hour difference in finishing times between them and the car in second place.

*1 Race duration: October 24 to 31, 2009; Race course: Darwin to Adelaide, Australia (distance of approx. 3,000 km).
*2 As of August 2, 2010, for practical-application solar cells. (Sharp survey)
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The following information is true and accurate at the time of publication. Manufacture, sale, price and specifications of products may be subject to change.

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