Panasonic to sponsor Tokai University’s solar car team at South African Solar Challenge 2012

Panasonic Corporation today announced its sponsorship of Tokai University’s solar car team competing at the South African Solar Challenge 2012 (SASC), the longest distance solar car race in the world, to be held from September 17 to 29, 2012. Panasonic’s energy solutions helped the Japanese university team to victory at the 2011 World Solar Challenge in Australia last year, when the company provided its HIT solar cells offering the world’s highest level* of energy conversion rate as well as high-capacity lithium-ion batteries.

This year’s third South African Solar Challenge, a bi-annual event first held in 2008, will see solar-powered cars compete driving on a challenging course, an approximately 5,000 km loop virtually around the entire circumference of the Republic of South Africa. The course, starting and ending in the northeastern city of Pretoria, is not only the world’s longest, but also has a maximum elevation difference of roughly 2,000 m.

At the previous SASC event held in 2010, the Tokai University solar car team successfully defended its victory, using Panasonic’s high-capacity lithium-ion batteries. The team will seek to extend its winning streak to three in the SASC this year, with a solar car equipped with the high-capacity lithium-ion batteries as well as HIT solar cells.

Panasonic HIT solar cells are hybrids of single crystalline silicon surrounded by ultra-thin amorphous silicon layers. With high conversion efficiency, excellent temperature performance, and high energy output per unit area, the cells are ideal for obtaining maximum power within a limited space, such as the rooftops of private homes. HIT cells are also suited for solar cars competing in the SASC because its regulations limit the total area of solar cells installed on the car body.

The batteries Panasonic is providing are cylindrical 18650-type (18 mm diameter, 65 mm length) high-capacity lithium-ion battery cells having the company’s proprietary nickel-based positive electrode. They will be mounted in arrays within a storage battery module. Featuring the industry’s highest level of energy density, the battery cell is light, high capacity, and long-lasting and enables making battery module lighter.

By providing a combination of energy-creation and energy-storage solutions with its high-capacity lithium-ion batteries and HIT solar cells that boast the world’s highest level of energy conversion rate for any mass-produced solar cell, Panasonic will support the Tokai University students’ challenge in the solar car race that will be run under harsh weather conditions.

* For a mass-produced, home solar generation system, as of February 2012, based on Panasonic’s survey.

About Panasonic

Panasonic Corporation is a worldwide leader in the development and manufacture of electronic products in three business fields, consumer, components & devices, and solutions. Based in Osaka, Japan, the company recorded consolidated net sales of 7.85 trillion yen for the year ended March 31, 2012. Panasonic’s stock is listed on the Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya and New York (NYSE:PC) Stock Exchanges. The company has the vision of becoming the No. 1 Green Innovation Company in the Electronics Industry by the 100th year of its founding in 2018. For more information on Panasonic, its brand and commitment to sustainability, visit the company’s website at

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