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Solar powered cars race in South Africa

One of the cars taking part in the South African Solar Challenge is prepared for a race around South Africa, in Cape Town on October 01, 2008. The race is for electric cars, which are primarliy solar powered, but there is a hydrogen fuel-cell powered motorcycle in the "Technology Class", racing too. which is to showcase sustainable energy. The race started in Johannesburg, drove the 1400Km to Cape Town, from Cape Town, they drive along the coast to Durban, and from there back up to Johannesburg, a total of 4175KM. There are 4 teams, three from South Africa, and one from Japan. This is the South African Sees/Oelsner entry, from Darling, in the Western Cape Province. Photo courtesy AFP.
by Staff Writers
Cape Town (AFP) Oct 1, 2008
Africa's first-ever solar-powered car race is underway in South Africa to raise awareness about alternative energy and promote science and technology, organisers said Wednesday.

Local teams are competing against racers from India and Japan in the two-week South African Solar Challenge, which aims to encourage students to study engineering, a field in which the country faces huge skills shortage.

"Promoting science and technology, that is the main focus. If we can convince another 10 people in our country to become engineers, it could be a radical improvement to our economy," said organiser Winstone Jordaan.

The group also hopes to promote alternative energy and green technology.

"Not a lot of people understand a six-square-metre (65-square-foot) solar array can make a car go 160 kilometres (100 miles) per hour. That's the crux of it, to get a generation of people growing up understanding the power of solar, how do we apply it."

Other solar car races are held in Europe, the United States and Australia, helping to develop technology for both alternative energy power sources and electric cars.

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Sunny Niger's solar dream dims under cost cloud
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It is poor, dry and has more sunshine than it knows what to do with. But despite years of experience with solar power, Niger continues to use cow dung and wood for fuel.

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