Tokai Challenger: Solar cell-powered "green" race car


Sharp Japan today said [press release in English] it supplied a total of 2,176 high-quality solar cells to a research team developing a sun-powered racing car at Japan-based Tokai University. The cells used for the car are usually powering satellites and measure 77 x 39mm, which translates back to a total area of about 6m2.

They’re made of rare metals, have an output of 1.8 kW and boast an energy conversion efficiency of 30%, which Sharp says is the highest level in the world (conventional crystalline silicon solar cells typically have a little more than 15% efficiency). The car, dubbed Tokai Challenger, can reach a top speed of 150km/h.

Sharp says a team from Tokai University will field-test the car in the so-called Global Green Challenge, a 3,000km race that’s exclusively held for “green” vehicles in Australia next month. One of the drivers has won the Paris to Dakar Rally in 1997.