PICS | This solar-powered vehicle racked up 390km in 8 hours

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The inaugural Ilanga Cup Solar Challenge was held this week in Delmas, Mpumalanga.
The inaugural Ilanga Cup Solar Challenge was held this week in Delmas, Mpumalanga.
Jukwaa Events
  • Tshwane University of Technology's solar car team were crowned winners of the endurance race, the Ilanga Cup Solar Challenge
  • The solar-powered vehicle Sunchaser 4 managed to complete 93 laps covering 390km in an eight hours.
  • Sunchaser 4 will participate in the 2022 Sasol Solar Challenge in September.
  • Get the biggest business stories emailed to you every weekday. Go to the Fin24 front page.

A solar-powered vehicle, Sunchaser 4, an entry from the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT), came out tops in the Ilanga Cup Solar Challenge solar car endurance race.

The vehicle managed to cover 390km, or 93 laps, in eight hours.

The inaugural race, which was sponsored by Bridgestone Southern Africa, was held on Thursday at the Red Star Raceway in Delmas, Mpumalanga. The race puts the spotlight on renewable and sustainable transport solutions.

The race was held at the Red Star Raceway, in Delm
The race was held at the Red Star Raceway, in Delmas, Mpumalanga.


The race included six teams – from high school, university and private engineering groups. Only three managed to race on the track - they were the TUT Solar Team, the high school team Genuine JV and North West University's Solar Car Team.

Three teams took to the track, Suchaser 4 of TUT (
Three teams took to the track, Suchaser 4 of TUT (front), Voltwagen of the Genuine JV solar car team (middle) and Naledi 2.0 of North West University (back).


Genuine JV completed 25 laps in their vehicle Voltwagen.

Francois Stolp, Trevor Smith and Hannes Venter dro
Francois Stolp, Trevor Smith and Hannes Venter drove for Voltwagen, completing 25 laps.

Naledi 2.0 completed 38 laps.

The North West University Solar Car Team's drivers
The North West University Solar Car Team's drivers were Francois Stevens, Tristan Melman and Joshua Plaatjies.

TUT's Sunchaser 4 drives at an average speed of 48km per hour, its maximum speed is 101 km per hour. A mandatory stop of five minutes was in place to swap drivers.

Sunchaser 4 completed 93 laps in eight hours.
Sunchaser 4's drivers Mpho Mogadima and Ryan van Gruenen completed 93 laps in eight hours.


The Ilanga Cup allows solar car teams to test their vehicles in a controlled environment while also learning how to improve the vehicle and team dynamics. The aim is to nurture young and upcoming solar car teams so that they can participate in larger-scale, international events such as the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge.

"The Ilanga Cup was a great event to test Sunchaser 4 to its limits and it was an honour to connect with other solar car teams in preparation for 2022 Sasol Solar Challenge," said the TUT Solar Team managers. "We are really looking forward to the next event and encourage young and old to become a part of the e-mobility community."

TUT's solar car team celebrates their win.
TUT's solar car team celebrates their win.


Robert Walker, director of the Ilanga Cup and the Sasol Solar Challenge, noted that the weather wasn't "solar car friendly" but the TUT team persevered.

The 2022 Sasol Solar Challenge is in its 14th year and will take place in September. It covers a route with stops between Johannesburg and Cape Town over eight days. About 40 solar car teams – both local and international - have competed in the challenge since 2008.


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