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SA does well in Solar Challenge

​​The University of KwaZulu Natal took home third place in a race that took teams 11 days, covering a distance of 5400km and totalling 109 hours on the road in solar-powered vehicles to complete the 2012 Sasol Solar Challenge.

Published by: IT-Online on Oct 2, 2012
Thirteen teams met at the gates of the CSIR Campus in Pretoria on Tuesday, 18 September 2012 to depart on the epic journey. Recordr fell asNorth West University covered the furthest distance in the Olympia Class with 1087.2km on the clock, while the University of KwaZulu Natal gave the best showing from a South African team in the converted challenge class, covering 1930.9km.
World champion Tokai University was named the winner of the Sasol Solar Challenge with its Japanese counterpart Shinozuka coming in a close second. The University of KwaZulu Natal gave a strong showing in third place.The race took teams from Pretoria to Vryburg, on to the soon to be solar capital of South Africa in Upington. It sped through the scenic town of Springbok and made a glorious entry and departure from Cape Town’s, Canal Walk.
Oudtshoorn and East London witnessed a frenzy of local onlookers dazzled by the futuristic cars as the race wound down through Loch Logan, Dundee, and Secunda with the final destination being back at the CSIR Campus in Pretoria.
What was encouraging about the challenge this year was the number of South African teams that entered in the different classes. This saw nine South African teams entered into the race, many of whom that became strong competitors as the challenge progressed.
The team from the North West University and the University of Johannesburg Hybrid teams were the stars in their categories as both teams won in their respective classes while the team from the University of KwaZulu Natal was second in its class behind the more experienced championship winning team from Tokai.
The fact that the majority of the South African teams comprised of undergraduate students is evidence that for the next race in 2014, more of the local teams will be able to mount a challenge against the Japanese sides. For many that were part of the event this year, the Sasol Solar Challenge was a learning experience and many can now take the experience and expertise back to their various institutions across South Africa and the world. “The event this year was an allround success. In the beginning, many of our local teams were a little overwhelmed by the whole occasion but we were happy that as the challenge progressed they came into their stride,” says race organiser Winstone Jordaan.
​“Our international competitors found that this was a very challenging race and one that was very unique to what they were used to on other races. The numerous stop and go’s on the challenging roads and conditions ensured that the race remained entertaining for the full 11 days,” he says. * Toshiba’s team Kenjiro Shinozuka competed in the Sasol Solar Challenge.
“We are incredibly proud to have been a part of this race,” says Yoshio Abe, MD of Toshiba Southern Africa. “Not only does it support Toshiba’s commitment to innovation in energy efficiency, it also allows for us to be associated with this exciting motoring technology that will inevitably change the way that cars are designed and manufactured in the future.”
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