August 17, 2010
Electric Vehicle Race Taking Place Across 16 Countries
Electric vehicles took off on the "longest and greenest" round-the-world drive on Monday to promote emissions free transport and November's world climate conference.
Swiss schoolteacher Louis Palmer, who made headlines because of his 18-month pioneering world tour in a solar-powered "taxi" two years ago, organized the U.N.-backed "Zero Race".
"With this race we want to show that seven billion people on this planet need renewable energy and clean mobility," Palmer told AFP news.
"Petrol is running out and the climate crisis is coming, and we are all running against time."
Palmer told AFP that a South Korean vehicle failed to reach the start line at the race in Geneva in time after it broke down with "a minor battery problem" about 37.3 miles up the road.
The vehicle is expected to meet up with the other vehicles from Australia, Germany and Switzerland later in the day.
The Zero Race is planning to stop at the World Climate Conference in Cancun, Mexico, after racing through Europe, Russia, China, Canada and the U.S. before heading back to Geneva in January 2011.
Each vehicle can travel at least 155 miles before needing another charge.
The vehicles are also obliged to consume no more electricity than each team has generated or purchased from clean energy sources like wind, solar and hydroelectric power.
Australian team TREV told AFP the trip through 16 countries would cost them about $360 dollars in fuel.
"We've already bought the power and put it back in the grid," 57-year-old Jason Jones, the leader of the Australian team, told AFP.
"We thought it just a great way to show what this car is capable of. The future of automotive transport is not a one-and-a-half ton gas guzzler."
Palmer will follow the vehicles in a repair van with a trailer.
AFP was told by Palmer that emissions from the van and ship crossings of both the Atlantic and Pacifc oceans would be carbon offset.
Image Caption: Switzerland's Team Zerotracer being put through its paces. (Photo courtesy of Zero Emissions Race)
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