Teams from South Africa, The Netherlands, Japan and Hungary are within 500km of breaking the record for the longest distance covered in a solar car.
The 4 630km record for the Sasol Solar Challenge was set in 2012 by Japanese team Tokai, and hasn’t been broken in four years.
“The fact that we are watching the teams break the longest-distance record on day six of eight is a clear demonstration of how the Sasol Solar Challenge advances energy engineering and the technology used in these cars,” says Winstone Jordaan, Sasol Solar Challenge director.
The Tokai Challenger, Dutch team Nuon, Hungarian team MegaLux and the top South African team North-West University are all within close reach of the record after a full day of sunshine on the road between Port Elizabeth to Sedgefield today.
“We’ve worked incredibly hard on this car, so we are confident we can break this record,” said Max Bishil, spokesperson for the Tokai solar team. “With that said, we won’t stop when we do break it. We’re aiming for the highest distance possible in order to set a new milestone for Tokai.”
The Sasol Solar Challenge has no prize money and is not a monetized event. Purposefully designed to motivate university students to innovate, solar teams rely on sponsors who fund them in order to gain valuable insight into energy and engineering research.
“The solar cars are basically mobile laboratories,” says Jordaan. “They’re the ultimate experiment for anyone involved in solar energy, energy management, battery systems and aerodynamics – or just engineering in general.”
Today (Friday) the eleven teams travel from Sedgefield via Mossel Bay to Swellendam.
The Sasol Solar Challenge is open to the public and media at all the stopping points.