Veolia World Solar Challenge 2011-Day 5-Winning Team Tokai Challenger 2 Arrives At Angle Vale & Victoria Square


Dear Readers,

I am interrupting (will post Day 3 & Day 4 later) to report about the winning team, Tokai Challenger 2 of Tokai University of Japan, which had just arrived at Victoria Square of Adelaide, Australia, within the last hour. The official finish line is located at Angle Vale, Australia, approximately 40 km outside of Adelaide (to avoid too much traffic lights), another brilliant decision on the part of the organizing team of Veolia World Solar Challenge 2011. So, as we waited at the Victoria Square, the ceremonial finish line, we chatted with and shared our excitement with some of the participants who have been loyal supporters of this solar car race for more than eighteen years. Despite the cloudy day with drizzle, our enthusiasm was not wavered the least bit. This is the special part of being solar participants, we/they are all full of extra dash of magical energy…perhaps a gift from the Sun…chuckle….

Here, we have a five-minute clip of interview with one of the winning drivers of Tokai Challenger 2 of Tokai University of Japan.


Even with the bush fire that they had to deal with, these winning drivers ended up averaging more than 91km/hr. They are so full of adrenaline that by the time they arrived at the Victoria Square, they did not hesitate to hop and hop

Winning Team, Tokai Challenger 2, of Veolia World Solar Challenge 2011 are so full of adrenaline that they are ready to hop


Driver/Pilot of the Winning Tokai Challenger 2

a closer look at the winning Tokai Challenger 2

Winning Driver/pilot is popping out as the crowd cheered

Upon arrival at Victoria Square, before the winning driver/pilot of Tokai Challenger 2 popped out

at the request of various reporters and of course the finale of hopping into the Victoria Fountain at Victoria Square. At the end of such a long journey through the desert of the Outback, one can fully appreciate/understand how this “Ritual Dip”  got started. But on a cloudy day with a touch of drizzle such as today, we thank our winning team in continuing this tradition in showing their exhilaration, undeterred by the rain.

Tokai Challenger 2 Team Members Carried the "Ritual Dip" Further in Victoria Fountain

The Historical "Ritual Dip" into the Victoria Fountain at the End of each team's journey

We are very pleased that Tokai Challenger 2 of Tokai University (from Japan) is the winning team and are not too surprised by the outcome, for they have replaced the unique single-crystalline silicon solar cells with space grade solar cells. They have kept their winning design concept from 2009 but improved the efficiency. I read that the Tokai Challenger had a drag coefficient of 0.11 whereas University of Michigan had a drag coefficient of 0.10 Keep in mind that drag coefficient is a dimensionless quantity used to quantify drag or resistance of an object in a fluid environment (be it air or water), so a lower drag coefficient indicates the object will have less aerodynamic or hydrodynamic drag/resistance, which would be better for a car in a car race ( or anything that moves). With a 10% difference in drag coefficient, University of Michigan should be in a more advantageous position, if solely based on drag coefficient (lower drag coefficient value). So my question here is: does Tokai Challenger 2 now has a different drag coefficient from 0.11 or are there other factors that had been more important than the 10% difference in the drag coefficient? If any of you out there who knows more about solar car race, please let me know.

written & posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker,, filmed by Michael Nunamaker

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2 Responses to “Veolia World Solar Challenge 2011-Day 5-Winning Team Tokai Challenger 2 Arrives At Angle Vale & Victoria Square”

  1. Patrick Says:

    Regrading your question about why drag coefficients don’t trump everything else, there are a couple of factors that could be more important than a 10% reduction in drag coefficient. The big one is solar energy conversion efficiency. Tokai has better solar cells, so they have more power to overcome drag. Other factors might include a smaller cross-sectional area (drag is proportional to area too, not just the drag coefficient – see, less rolling resistance, better solar cell performance at low light levels/oblique angles, etc.

    Hope that helps!

  2. sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker Says:

    Hi, Patrick,
    It sure does! Thanks a million. That explains a lot of things regarding final performance.
    Hope you will keep on visiting for more on solar energy.
    sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker

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