GENEVE – Four teams of emission-less vehicles were waved away in the Zero Around-the-World in 80 Days Race from outside the United Nations Office in Geneva yesterday.
Team Zerotracer from Switzerland and team Trev from Australia get ready for their 80-day trip around the world. – VNS Photo Le Thanh
The teams Trev, Australia, Zerotracer, Switzerland, Vectrix, Germany, and Powerplaza, South Korea, will end the first leg of their journey at the UN's Climate Conference in Cancun, Mexico, during November and December.
The world organisation's Environment Programme supports the race and before the vehicles cross the finish they will travel through Brussels, Berlin, Vienna, Moscow and Shanghai.
A ship will carry the vehicles to Vancouver for their journey south down the west coast of the Americas.
In December, the vehicles will be shipped to Portugal and traverse south-western Europe to complete their final leg.
After 80 days of travel over 30,000km through 16 countries with stops in 150 cities, the Zero Race will end where it began, in Geneva, in January 2011.
European-Solar-Prize winner Louis Palmer has organised the race.
The solar pioneer, 38, made the headlines more than two years ago when he drove his "Solar Taxi" more than 54,000km across 38 countries and in 18 months.
His purpose was to raise awareness about renewable energy and climate change among more than 770 million people.
The race was to be a competition for the latest electric-vehicle technology, he said.
"We want to show that the 7 billion people on this planet need renewable energy and clean mobility.
"Petrol is running out... the climate crisis is coming... and we are running against time.
The Zero Race is not only about speed.
It also requires judgement about vehicle reliability; energy efficiency; design and safety and utility for every day life.
Renewable energy from the sun, the wind or other sources must be used to power the vehicles.
"The success of the Zero Race will depend on the number of people reached and inspired enough to take action towards a more sustainable way of life," said its organiser.
"Growing traffic and environment pollution are just asking for solutions.
"The Zero Race is very much about showing realistic ways towards a cleaner and greener future for the planet and its people."
Investment in renewable energy projects through MyClimate – a not-for-profit Swiss-based carbon emission offsetter – will compensate for any unavoidable greenhouse gas emissions the race creates through the shipping of the vehicles and air travel. — VNS