Following its successful attempt at creating the Longest plastic toy train track in 2013, Panasonic was searching for another creative Guinness World Records attempt to promote the long lasting power of its alkaline battery EVOLTA, and reinforce the brand’s positive image by supporting a challenge that had social meaning.
This was the third time the EVOLTA team had integrated record-breaking into their campaign, their first record having been set in 2008 when they achieved the Longest lasting AA alkaline battery cell and launched Panasonic's Evolta Challenge campaign.
When Panasonic made the toy train that ran on the Longest plastic toy train track with a single AA alkaline battery in 2013, they enlisted the help of an elementary school in the project. This time they asked a “train team” from a Technical High school near Tokyo to build a real train that would be entirely powered by alkaline batteries and would set the Guinness World Records title for the Longest distance traveled by a vehicle on a railway track powered by dry cell batteries.
The 13 students spent 6 months creating the vehicle and built a 1.1 ton train solely powered by 600 size D EVOLTA alkaline batteries. Yuri Kogen Railway in Akita offered to support Panasonic to meet the 20 km minimum requirement set by Guinness World Records.
During the incredible 2 hr 36 min journey, the train made three stops so that the students on board could get on and off and drivers could swap round. A huge crowd of supporters were waiting at the finish to witness the once in a life time attempt, and an Official Guinness World Records adjudicator was on hand to confirm the new record achievement of 22.615 km. This challenge was subsequently made into a TV advertisement, as a short story to motivate and to spread EVOLTA’s brand values to consumers.
Panasonic has continued tackling unique challenges to try to maximise the potential of its AA alkaline batteries. After designing the train, the company took on the Guinness World Records title for the Longest distance travelled by a fixed-wing aircraft powered by primary dry cell batteries. Although the attempt felt short of the target of 10 km, Panasonic embraced the failure and made an advert about the project, which was done in collaboration with a group of students and was seen as a success towards the formation of their careers as scientists and engineers.