World Solar Challenge head to head: Japan

The World Solar Challenge is an exciting race to find the best solar car in the world. That makes for serious competition between countries. But there are also some interesting contests within countries. The most obvious is between Nuon (3) and Twente (21), who came first and second in the Challenger class last time.

Within Japan, Tokai University (10, Tokai Challenger, above) has a long tradition of excellence in the Challenger class, winning in 2009 and 2011, and coming at least 3rd since then (see chart at top). Their elegant new car is radically different from anything else in the competition, and looks fast.

Kogakuin University (88) raced in the Cruiser class in 2015, with an innovative design that almost won. This year, they have an equally innovative car in the Challenger class (Wing, below). Can Kogakuin take over the leading Challenger role in Japan? Can their car win against the equally streamlined Tokai vehicle? Or will Goko or Nagoya make a dramatic leap upwards from their 14th-place and 16th-place finishes in 2015? Only time will tell.


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2 thoughts on “World Solar Challenge head to head: Japan

  1. It’s going to be a very interesting battle between the 4sqm Si bullet cars from Japan, the multi-junction panelled bullet car from Michigan and the catamarans with either 4 or 2.64 sqm panels (from Belgium, Netherlands and others).
    Also wondering how the normalising of the array works on the Japanese cars. And of course if those narrow cars will be safe in the natural or roadtrain created winds in the outback.
    And we also have the somewhat different bullet car Naledi from NWU.
    We are probably up for one of the most exciting races in many years as far as design solutions are concerned.

    • Absolutely! It’s become very hard to pick the most likely winner. I’m very excited by the prospect of seeing those cars race.

      And yes, stability in the face of wind gusts could be a worry, especially for Tokai, Kogakuin, and Naledi.

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