SA shines brighter in solar race

​​South African teams improved on their 2010 performances with a stronger showing in the 2012 Sasol Solar Challenge but the top-rated Japanese teams dominated once again

Published by Wheels24:2012-10-02​

Teams spent as many as 109 hours on the road in ​their sun-powered electric cars before finishing at the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research in Pretoria where the race had first started on September 18, 2012.


The World champion team from Tokai University​ was the winner with Japanese counterpart Shinozuka a close second. The University of kwaZulu-Natal made a strong showing to come third in a race for which the finishers took 11 days to cover 5400km.

The 2012 challenge also saw a number of records bettered: North West University covered the furthest distance in the Olympia Class (1087.2km) and UKZN, the top South African team, covered 1930.9km.

Nine South African teams were entered. North West University and the University of Johannesburg Hybrid teams finished top in their respective categories, while UKZN was second in its class behind the winning team from Tokai.


The race took teams from Pretoria to Upington via Vryburg, through Springbok en route to the halfway point at Cape Town and a public showing at the city’s Canal Walk.

Oudtshoorn and East London were the next stops along the route as the teams made their way through Loch Logan, Dundee and Secunda before finishing back in Pretoria at the CSIR campus.

Race organiser Winstone Jordaan said: “The event this year was an all-round 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 got into their stride.

“Our international competitors found it a unique and very challenging race. The numerous stops-and-gos given the challenging roads and conditions ensured that the race remained entertaining for the full 11 days.”

Sasol Solar Challenge – Full Race Results

Place / Team / Car name / Total km / Total time

Challenge class

1 Tokai University Toray 4632.0 71hr13

2 Shinozuku Toshiba 4632.0 89hr55

3 University of KZN Natal Apalis 1’930.9 99hr50

Olympia class

1 North West University NWU1 1087.2 90hr44

2 University of Johannesburg Illanga 847.6 105hr06

3 Tshwane University of Technology 409.5 99hr55

4 WITS WITS 90 44.6 83hr55

5 German School of Johannesburg Sonnerbrand II 12187.7 109hr39

Technology demo class

1 University of Johannesburg (Gas Turbine Hybrid) Umdumo 934.8 79hr01

2 EV Drive Electric Puma 578.6 79hr01

3 University of Johannesburg (H2 Hybrid) Dmo Amanzi 578.6 101hr59

Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (not classified) Photon 298.9 47hr15

4 WITS – Bike 177.7 52hr54

5 Delhi University 23.3 9hr50​​​

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