Production of Solar Cars Through Student Projects
Problems related to energy and the environment are serious issues that mankind is facing today. At Tokai University, students independently work on developing solar cars that run on photovoltaic cells through collaboration between industries and academia. Numerous adjustments and tests are done on these cars and then entered into races both in and out of the country. A variety of events that allow our solar cars to be put on display and test driven are held for elementary and middle school students as well as people in the community. This provides an opportunity for all of us to think about how we can solve environmental problems.
A Strong Passion - Participating in Races and Contributing to the Local Community
The solar car generates power from the solar panels on its roof - this energy, in turn, runs the motor and therefore presents less harm to the environment. Tokai University's Solar Car Team has a total of four cars - two of which are named "Tokai Trysol" and "Tokai Falcon." Each day adjustments are made to improve the body weight and decrease the wind resistance of the cars. Efforts are made to use solar power as the main power source to make a faster and more environmentally friendly vehicle. It can be said that this is an "Accomplish to Build (Monozukuri) Project" unique to Tokai University where 60% of the student population is either a Science or Engineering major.
Tokai University's Solar Car Team belongs to the Student Project Center's "Light Power Project" - a student centered research project focused on energy-saving cars. This project not only includes the Solar Car Team but also teams developing man-powered airplanes and electric bicycles. All groups participate in races in and outside of Japan. The teams also work together to hold environmental education events for children as well as other activities that contribute to the local community.
TOPICS 1 Solar Car Team Wins the "South African Solar Car Challenge 2008"
Tokai University's Solar Car Team won the first ever solar car race on the African Continent - "South African Solar Car Challenge 2008" (recognized by FIA). This event was an eleven day race held from September 28 through October 8, 2008. The race course almost circled the entire country of the Republic of South Africa (approximately 4,200 km). Seven teams from universities and organizations around the world known for building solar cars participated in the race. Tokai University was the only participant from Japan. Kenjiro Shinozuka, Tokai University School of Engineering alumni and the first Japanese to win the Paris Dakar Rally was the driver during this extremely hilly, challenging race. Those students who participated in the race said that the support from those members who were unable to attend the race played an important role in their victory. The participants shared that they would like to use the experience gained through the race towards their future activities.
TOPICS 2 Solar Car Team to Challenge the Largest Solar Car Race in the World
The "Global Green Challenge," one of the largest international solar car races will be held from October 25 through October 30, 2009 across the Australian continent. This race will be approximately 3,000 km long - from Darwin to Adelaide. Tokai University will participate with their newest solar car, the "Tokai Challenger." As of August 2009, they are working on testing and making adjustments to their car. Please watch closely as the team takes on a new challenge a year from their win at the "South African Solar Challenge 2008."