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Tokai University’s Solar Car Team Supported by Panasonic Wins 2011 World Solar Challenge


Osaka, Japan - Today, Tokai University Solar Car Team which used HIT®*1 solar cells boasting the world’s highest level*2 of energy conversion rate, as well as high-capacity lithium-ion batteries provided by Panasonic as part of its sponsorship agreement with the team, won the 2011 World Solar Challenge (WSC), one of the world’s largest solar car race which was held from October 16, 2011 in Australia.

The WSC is a solar car race competition that starts from Darwin in the north of Australia down to Adelaide in the south, traveling a total distance of 3,021 km. This year’s race started on October 16, 2011. Although the Tokai University team started at the qualifying position of fifth place, from the start, the team took the lead and continually increased its leading position throughout the entire race. The solar car ran smoothly without any trouble to finally reach the finish line at Adelaide today on October 20, 2011 at around 1PM local Darwin time.

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, greatly lifting the performance of the solar car in the WSC where regulations limit the total area of solar cells that can be installed on the body.

Panasonic also provided cylindrical 18650-type high-capacity lithium-ion rechargeable batteries. These high-capacity, long-enduring, and lightweight batteries utilize Panasonic’s proprietary nickel-based positive electrodes and have the highest level of energy density in the industry. They can operate for long periods of time and can be linked in lightweight battery pack arrays.

Tokai University team’s winning performance at this year’s WSC proved the significance and superior performance of Panasonic’s HIT solar cells and high-capacity lithium-ion batteries.

*1: As a mass-produced, residential solar power generation system, based on Panasonic’s survey; as of March 2011
*2: HIT stands for Heterojunction with Intrinsic Thin-layer; heterojunction means a combination of amorphous and crystalline structures; intrinsic refers to intrinsic or i-type semiconductors

About Panasonic

Panasonic Corporation is a worldwide leader in the development and manufacture of electronic products for a wide range of consumer, business, and industrial needs. Based in Osaka, Japan, the company recorded consolidated net sales of 8.69 trillion yen (US$105 billion) for the year ended March 31, 2011. The company’s shares are listed on the Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya and New York (NYSE:PC) stock exchanges. For more information on the company and the Panasonic brand, visit the company’s website at

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