Students from the National Kaohsiung University of Applied Sciences won second place in the Dream Cup solar car race in Japan earlier this month, the university's best ever performance in four years of participating in international solar car competitions.
The 18-member team competed in the top division of the 16th annual Dream Cup, which was held at the Suzuka Circuit in Suzuka City, Mie Prefecture, on Aug. 4 and Aug. 5. The students lost to the Japanese team by eight rounds in an endurance race.
The Suzuka Circuit solar car race attracted 80 teams, mostly from Japan, who competed in three divisions.
TOP FOREIGN TEAM
The Kaohsiung team was the only foreign crew competing in the top division against seven Japanese teams.
The Dream Cup was launched in 1992 to promote environmentally friendly vehicles.
It was created through the joint sponsorship of the Yomiuri Shimbun, Suzuka Circuitland, as well as the Japan Automobile Federation.
After the race, the Kaohsiung competitors said that their Japanese rival solar cars were very well-built and performed better because of higher stability.
"There is certainly ample room for us to improve our equipment and techniques," a student said.
The solar car model developed by the university employs solar panels on a par with US aerospace industrial standards, the team said.
Nevertheless, the model is far less efficient than today's commercial cars, the students said.
The students said that they had gained valuable experience making and using environmentally friendly solar cars, which they said are a rising star in the field of transportation.
The university's team is the only one of its kind in Taiwan and has participated in international solar car races since 2003.