The Tour de Sol Reports, 2006

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The Tour de Sol Reports, 2006

Photos

See the main page of Tour de Sol 2006 Photos at http://www.AutoAuditorium.com/TdS_Reports_2006/photos.html

Table of Contents

Report #1: The Entrants
Report #2: What Sort of Person ...?
Report #3: Tour De Sol To Showcase Over 65 "Green" Cars At Saratoga Spring Auto Show
Report #4: A Bit More Detail on the Entrants
Report #5: Photos - First Photographs
Report #6: Team Profile: The Fledge
Report #7: Photos - The Fledge
Report #8: Team Profile: Evergreen
Report #9: Photos - Evergreen
Report #10: Team Profile: Vogelbilt
Report #11: Photos - Vogelbilt
Report #12: Greasecar
Report #13: Photos - Greasecar
Report #14: Interview: Nancy Hazard, Director of the Tour de Sol
Report #15: Team Profile: Woodstock and Moritz
Report #16: Photos - Woodstock and Moritz
Report #17: Monte Carlo Rally Entries: The Turbo Insights
Report #18: Photos - Turbo Insights
Report #19: Exhibitor Profile: Solaqua
Report #20: Photos - Solaqua Sound GEM
Report #21: Exhibitor Profile: Starfire Systems
Report #22: Photos - Starfire Systems
Report #23: Exhibitor Profile: Roosevelt Island Hybrid Transit Bus
Report #24: Photos - Roosevelt Island Hybrid Transit Bus
Report #25: Team Profile: Electrovaya maya-200
Report #26: Photos - Electrovaya maya-200
Report #27: Monte Carlo Entrant: Hymotion
Report #28: Photos - Hymotion
Report #29: Team Profile: Sunpacer
Report #30: Photos - Sunpacer
Report #31: Team Profile: Zodiac
Report #32: Photos - Zodiac
Report #33: Team Profile: rEVolutionride
Report #34: Photos - rEVolutionride
Report #35: Photos - Green Grand Prix June 2, 2006
Report #36: Team Profile: Viking32
Report #37: Photos - Viking32
Report #38: Tour de Sol Winners Announced
Report #39: More Reports Coming
Report #40: Exhibitor Profile: Miles ZX40
Report #41: Photos - Miles Automotive ZX40
Report #42: Team Profile: The Attack
Report #43: Photos - Attack
Report #44: The Detailed Results
Report #45: 2006 Bradford Teacher Award Recipient: Paul O'Brien
Report #46: Photos - Paul O'Brien
Report #47: H2Prius: Another eVermont Car
Report #48: Demonstration: Honda FCX Fuel Cell Car
Report #49: Photos - Honda FCX
Report #50: Interview: Drew Gillett
Report #51: Photos - Drew and Barbara Gillett




For Tour de Sol Reports from 1994 through 2005, see

http://www.AutoAuditorium.com/Tour_de_Sol_Reports.html


Report #1: The Entrants

As of Saturday May 6th, this is the list of entrants in the Tour de Sol.  From:

                http://www.NESEA.org/transportation/tour/2006Entrants.php

The competition is divided into several CATEGORIES, each with its own rules and requirements. 

MONTE CARLO-STYLE RALLY

        #31  Hybrid Turbo Hybrid Insight
        Jack Lee and Babe
        Venice, FL

Hybrid Turbo Honda Insight: For the promotion of green vehicles we assist you in turbo'ing your Insight for lean burn at true highway speeds.  Sky rocket take-offs that will leave SUV's in the dust. 

	-	-	-	-	-	-	-	-	-

        #37  Maya-100
        Electrovaya
	Mississauga, Canada

Electrovaya has developed a lithium-polymer battery with the world's highest energy density of any rechargeable battery.  Well established as a battery supplier to the computer and IT industry, Electrovaya is entering the electric vehicle market with a joint venture in Norway with SmartCar conversions.  Maya-100 is the company's test-bed for their battery use in an electric vehicle.  www.Electrovaya.com

	-	-	-	-	-	-	-	-	-

        #39  Prius Plug-In Conversion
        #40  Hybrid Escape Plug-In Conversion
        Hymotion
	Concord, Ontario, Canada,

Hymotion's Plug-in Hybrid system (PHEV) can provide hybrid vehicles with a 100+ mpg fuel efficiency and fight climate change.  The advantages of Hymotion's PHEV includes better fuel economy, fewer visits to the gas station, lower fuel costs, less pollution, and an all electric "stealth" mode.  This is made possible by Hymotion's proprietary Lithium Ion Polymer battery technology and plug-and-play PHEV system.  The system can be used with a Prius, or a Ford Hybrid Escape.  www.Hymotion.com

	-	-	-	-	-	-	-	-	-

((The following entrants don't have a blurb.  I suspect most are coming in their personal vehicles.))

ICE == Internal Combustion Engine

        #32  Drew and Barbara Gillett
        Green Team
	2002 Prius Classic
        Bedford, MA
	-	-	-	-	-	-	-	-	-

        #33  Gavin Watson
	1973 Porsche 914
	ICE: 100% Soybean oil
        Ridgefield, CT
	-	-	-	-	-	-	-	-	-

        #34  John Schnebly
        Vital Point
	2006 Toyota Prius
	http://www.vitalpoint.com
        Wynantskill, NY
	-	-	-	-	-	-	-	-	-

	#35  Margaret Sullivan
	Homeland Energy Resources Dev't
	2005 Honda Civic GX
	ICE: CNG
	Syracuse, NY
	-	-	-	-	-	-	-	-	-

        #36  Colin McCullough
	2000 VW New Beetle TDI
	ICE: Biodiesel (B100)
        East Lyme, CT
	-	-	-	-	-	-	-	-	-

        #41  C. Michael Lewis
	2000 Honda Insight - manual
        Portland, ME
	-	-	-	-	-	-	-	-	-

        #12  Vogelbilt
	2004 Ford F250 Pick-up
	ICE: Biodiesel (B100) 
	http://www.vogelbilt.com
        West Babylon, NY
	-	-	-	-	-	-	-	-	-

        #42  Steve MacAusland
	Interfaith Power & Light
	2000 Honda Insight - manual
        Dedham, MA
	-	-	-	-	-	-	-	-	-

        Display  Jeffrey Van Deusen
	2003 VW Jetta
	ICE: Biodiesel - B100
        East Lyme, CT
	-	-	-	-	-	-	-	-	-

AROUND-TOWN VEHICLE COMPETITION

        #3 & #4  E-Bike
        NTID Ebike Club
        Rochester, NY

The NTID Ebike Club is proud that we have made our own bike from scratch.  The National Technical Institute for the Deaf is one of eight colleges at Rochester Institute of Technology.  We put together ideas and designed our own frame using CAD and built it, (fabrication, machining, and welding) in 5 weeks! There are 12 deaf students in the club.  We chose to do this for the mechanical and electrical learning experience and for fun. 

	-	-	-	-	-	-	-	-	-

        #5 & #6  NFA Solar Racing Team
        Newburgh Free Academy
        New Windsor, NY
	-	-	-	-	-	-	-	-	-

        #8  Optibike
        Optibike, LLC
        Boulder, CO

Optibike is the leader in high performance electric bikes with style.  Optibikes are designed for save smooth operation at 30+ mph, deliver twice the speed with half the effort, and have exceptional power.  Last year Optibike, with Craig Weakley on board, took first place in the three-hour range event at the Tour de Sol.  www.Optibike.com

	-	-	-	-	-	-	-	-	-

        #9  Lawrence Hayes
        Pauling, NY
	-	-	-	-	-	-	-	-	-

        #7  Thomas Vreeland
        Berkshire School
        Sheffield, MA
	-	-	-	-	-	-	-	-	-

        #22  Charles Kellogg
        Proctor Academy
        Andover, NH
	-	-	-	-	-	-	-	-	-

        #23  The RunAbout Cycle
        RunAbout Cycles
        Florence, MA

RunAbout Cycles is one-year old company that designs and builds electric recumbent trikes designed for good clean fun.  RunAbout offers the only recumbent trike with full suspension, reverse and regen braking.  Trikes have a 40-mile range and a top speed of 20 mph.  They offer an enhanced cycling experience, with twice the speed of a regular bike, but only have the effort.  www.RunAboutCycles.com. 

	-	-	-	-	-	-	-	-	-

        #24  GEM Neighborhood Vehicle
        NY State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation
        Albany, NY

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation is committed t the use of green vehicle in their fleet operations.  With over 500 vehicles statewide, the agency has one of the largest fleets of clean fuel vehicles in the country.  Last year, the GEM took first place in the 2-hour range event for NEVs. 

	-	-	-	-	-	-	-	-	-

        #21  Solar GEM Neighborhood Vehicle
        Project e- 3
        Southern Berkshire Regional School District
        Sheffield, MA

Mount Everett High School returns to the Tour de Sol with the Vreeland Institute of Arts and Sciences.  Mt.  Everett's Project e-^(3) team will bring its solar electric neighborhood vehicle and recharge its battery from the Vreeland Institute's mobile alternative energy exhibit, which includes solar powered alternative energy displays, a fuel cell, wind turbine, wireless Internet access, web cameras and more!

	-	-	-	-	-	-	-	-	-

TOUR DE SOL CHAMPIONSHIP PROTOTYPE ALTERNATIVE FUEL & HYBRID VEHICLES

        #18  H2TOY
        Intergalactic Hydrogen
        Sandy, UT

Intergalactic Hydrogen provides MADE-IN-USA renewable energy products & cleaner fuel options that work with today's infrastructure and beyond.  We build multi- fuel, hydrogen, methane, propane, biodiesel and ethanol automobiles and appliances.  We promote the clean fuel revolution through educational workshops and engineering consultation.  We invite you to reduce your footprint on the plant with American Fuel Vehicles (AFVs) and declare your energy independence. 

	-	-	-	-	-	-	-	-	-

        #10  Moritz
        St.  Mark's EV Club
        St.  Mark's School
        Southborough, MA

The Moritz is a new entry to the Tour de Sol, but it will be St.  Mark's EV Club's fifth Tour.  The most spectacular aspect of Moritz is how ordinary it is! Its tank may be filled with reprocessed vegetable oil instead of petroleum, but this Jetta has an unaltered production turbodiesel engine. 

	-	-	-	-	-	-	-	-	-

        #2  The Attack
        WPHS EV Team
        West Philadelphia High School
        Philadelphia, PA

The Hybrid Attack was designed as the world's first hybrid super car with 50 mpg and 0-60 time less than 4 seconds.  It has a tubular steel frame and carbon fiber body.  A modified VW TDI powers the rear wheels.  We plan to make this vehicle a hybrid next year with an AC Propulsion motor. 

	-	-	-	-	-	-	-	-	-

        #11  Fledge
        DCE Hybrid Car Team
        Delhi College
	New Delhi, India

The car has been designed to meet the world's need for clean vehicles and suit the Indian lifestyle and driving conditions.  The drive train has been specially configured to give maximum efficiency and economy.  The team comprises seven mechanical engineering students from Delhi College of Engineering, the premier engineering institute in India. 

	-	-	-	-	-	-	-	-	-

        #15  Vegginator
        Trenton High School
        Trenton, NJ

The Tornado Fuel Masters purchased a 1985 VW Golf in non-running condition.  Students repaired, modified, and designed graphics for the Vegginator.  The students reformulated their inner-city high school's cafeteria fryer grease into biodiesel, which they are using to run their car. 

	-	-	-	-	-	-	-	-	-

        #14  Vogelbilt
        Carl Vogel
        West Babylon, NY

Vogelbilt's 2004 Ford 6.0L Diesel was modified two years ago for increased fuel economy.  Over the past two years it has been driven over 80,000 miles using only 100% biodiesel.  Carl will also bring his electric motorcycle that stared in the CoolFuelRoadtrip.com.com TV series that will debut April 22, 2006 and run for eighteen weeks. 

	-	-	-	-	-	-	-	-	-

        #38  Greasecar Austin Mini
        Greasecar / Madhouse Minis Team
        Greasecar Vegetable Fuel Systems
        Easthampton, MA

Greasecar and Madhouse Minis are collaborating on a car that runs on straight vegetable oil.  The 1976 Austin Mini Clubman, with Peugeot 1.5l diesel engine, will demonstrate the Greasecar Vegetable Fuel System.  The conversion kit comes with everything you need to run on vegetable oil, which is cleaner, safer and less expensive than petroleum based fuel.  www.GreaseCar.com

	-	-	-	-	-	-	-	-	-

        #32  Viking 32
        Western Washington University Hybrid Club
        Western Washington University
        Bellingham, WA

With funding from the US Federal Highway Administration, students and faculty at Western Washington University's Vehicle Research Institute built Viking 32 to demonstrate the first automotive use of carbon-fiber.  Viking 32 offers survivable front impact protection at up to 80 kph.  In addition, side impact and roof strength exceed US Federal motor Vehicle Safety Standards. 

	-	-	-	-	-	-	-	-	-

PROTOTYPE BATTERY ELECTRIC VEHICLES

        #12  Lorax
        Methacton Electric Car Club
        Methacton High School
        Norristown, PA

The Lorax is named after Dr. Suess's character whose mission was to educate people about the environment.  The Methacton Electric Car Club educates the public about alternative energy sources one person at a time at our school, during field trips to nearby schools and at summer camps. 

	-	-	-	-	-	-	-	-	-

        #16  Phantom Sol
        UM Solar Vehicle Team
        University of Maine, Orono, Maine

The Phantom Sol was created in 2001 to dispel the myths that electric vehicles are impractical, weak, expensive and not much fun to drive.  Originally a GMC S15 pickup, this car has been drastically re-engineered to produce an economical and powerful vehicle with exceptional performance and sleek appearance. 

	-	-	-	-	-	-	-	-	-

        #17  The Olympian
        Burlington County Electechs
        Burlington County Schools, NJ

The Electechs are students of Burlington County Institute of Technology and Burlington County Community College.  The Olympian has been greatly modified with a revolutionary compound battery that offers an exceptional combination of power, range and affordability.  Left to right: Prof.  Jack Braun and Dan Carson of BCC and Mike Gladney and Eric Kozicki of BCIT. 

	-	-	-	-	-	-	-	-	-

        #21  Revolution Ride
        North Haven Community School
        North Haven, ME

Since 2002, when students from Maine's smallest public high school built their Vanagon Syncro electric vehicle and put it on the road, the van has been an indispensable daily driver and teaching tool for the school.  The 4wd, 7-passenger van is charged by a 5.2kw photovoltaic array installed on the school and tied into the electric grid. 

	-	-	-	-	-	-	-	-	-

	#22  EVermont's ECHO-EV
	Agency of Natural Resources
	Waterbury, VT

This Toyota ECHO conversion was recently designed and built by EVermont.  It has a Solectria drive system and a ZEBRA nickel sodium chloride battery for a driving range of 100 miles between rechargings.  EVermont also hopes to bring their soon to be delivered Toyota Prius that is being converted to run on hydrogen. 

	-	-	-	-	-	-	-	-	-

PROTOTYPE SOLAR-ASSISTED ELECTRIC VEHICLES

	#18  Sunpacer
	Jeff Ostroski
	Cato-Meridian HS Technology Club
	Cato, NY

Since 1992, the Sunpacer has participated in the Tour de Sol every year, capturing first place in the One-person Solar category 11 times.  This student- engineering project aims to improve vehicle efficiency each year.  It presently has a range of 80 miles, to speed of 60 mph, and a demonstrated efficiency of over 130 mpg. 

	-	-	-	-	-	-	-	-	-

	#19  Woodstock
	St.  Mark's EV Club
	St.  Mark's School
	Southborough, MA

Woodstock is a true Zero Emission Vehicle.  The yellow Ford Ranger 4 X 4 was converted to run on battery power by St.  Mark's School students Its batteries recharge overnight with 100% renewable electricity from the grid.  Woodstock also gathers "free" energy from the sun via the 300 watt Evergreen Solar panels over the cargo bed. 

	-	-	-	-	-	-	-	-	-

	#20  Keystone
	Penn Solar Racing
	Unversity of Pennsylvania
	Philadelphia, PA

Penn Solar Racing is comprised of students from engineering, business and the liberal arts.  We utilize our classroom education in a real world setting to engineer a fully functional solar car as well as manage resources, advertise and obtain sponsorship.  The team is committed to leadership, teamwork, and educating the community about alternative energy. 

	-	-	-	-	-	-	-	-	-

	#7  Zodiac
	West Irondequoit Solar Car Team
	West Irondequoit High School
	Rochester, NY

Zodiac is back for another race.  The team is made up of 14 students, 3 advisors, and 3 community volunteers from West Irondequoit High School in Rochester, NY.  The team is also working on a scratch built electric mini cooper that will be ready to race in 2007.  Updates on our progress can be found at www.IHStechteam.com. 

	-	-	-	-	-	-	-	-	-


Report #2: What Sort of Person ...?

What sort of person enters the Tour de Sol? Here are some comments of some of them found in a Tour de Sol press release:

	http://www.classic-communications.com/release_5.htm

Drew Gillett, who is entered in "Subdivision 1: Unmodified Hybrids Now on the Market", is founder and owner of Solar Engineers in Bedford, NH.  He says he is entering an unmodified hybrid to demonstrate that such vehicles are capable of achieving their EPA estimated gas mileages, which tend to be significantly higher than actual gas mileages.  "My wife and I regularly achieve [the EPA estimate] in our '02 Prius, and [the Tour de Sol] is an opportunity to show once again that [our Prius] is still doing the job." He says he's surprised that the Hollywood crowd, like an increasingly growing number of average Americans, has taken to hybrids.  "I didn't know they were sexy and cool when I bought one, and I guess they've become that now that gas is three bucks a gallon and up in places -- and going higher this spring." (To hear an approximately 1-minute interview with him, by NESEA's Steve D'Agostino, in MP3 format, visit Drew Gillett.)

        http://www.bestrateofclimb.com/DrewGillett.mp3

Ricardo Bazzarella, who is in entered in "Subdivision 2: Plug-In Hybrids", is co-founder, co-owner and president of Hymotion Inc. in Concord, Ontario, which is producing a kit that can be used to convert a hybrid Toyota Prius or Ford Escape to a "plug-in hybrid," and reduce the use of gasoline.  He says it's no real trouble to plug in a hybrid each day in order to recharge it.  "Gas prices are going higher and higher every day, and by taking the trouble of plugging in your [hybrid] car, it gives you that [extra] option," he says.  "You take that standard hybrid vehicle, like the Prius or the Ford Escape, you add more batteries and, voila, you've got yourself a plug-in hybrid.  It gives you an option to go 50 kilometers in pure electric mode, which is a beautiful thing." (To hear an approximately 1-minute-30-second interview with him, by NESEA's Steve D'Agostino, in MP3 format, visit Ricardo Bazzarella.)

        http://www.bestrateofclimb.com/RicardoBazzarella.mp3

Michael Dabrowski, who is entered in "Subdivision 2: Insight Modifications", is founder, owner and operator of Genesis One in North Grosvenordale, CT.  He has been working to convert Honda Insights because they are the most fuel-efficient hybrid on the market, with an EPA estimated rating of 57 miles per gallon.  He says hybrids can get a lot more miles per gallon than they now achieve.  "Theoretically, if you could put enough batteries onboard any hybrid -- especially with the new generation of batteries that are lightweight and with a lot of density -- and you could push the electric portion of the hybrid to its limit, the mileage would go up accordingly." He says he has conducted initial experiments with his Insight, using new-generation batteries.  "I've made several runs at over 100 miles per gallon -- maybe 110," he says.  (To hear an approximately 2-minute interview with him, by NESEA's Steve D'Agostino, in MP3 format, visit Michael Dabrowski.)

        http://www.bestrateofclimb.com/MichaelDabrowski.mp3

Jack Lee, who is entered in "Subdivision 2: Insight Modifications", is founder, owner and operator of Cannonball Enterprises in Venice, FL.  He says you could get 120 miles per gallon in a Honda Insight if you drive a steady 43 miles per hour and don't hit any traffic lights -- but that this scenario is not a realistic one.  "I've developed a hybrid turbo -- I guess you could call it a 'hybrid-turbo hybrid' -- that will enhance that [performance].  I can get that same 120 miles per gallon, but at a faster speed: 48 miles per hour." (To hear an approximately 2-minute interview with him, by NESEA's Steve D'Agostino, in MP3 format, visit Jack Lee.)

        http://www.bestrateofclimb.com/JackLee.mp3

Justin Carven, who is entered in "Subdivision 3: Vegetable Oil", is founder, owner and operator of Greasecar Vegetable Fuel Systems LLC in Easthampton, MA, which offers a kit to convert a conventional diesel vehicle to run on vegetable oil.  He says it's no more trouble to use vegetable oil than to use biodiesel.  "Vegetable oil as a fuel is, in most cases right now, more readily available and cheaper to get a hold of than biodiesel tends to be," he says.  "Therefore, a lot of people choose [vegetable oil] as an option so that they can run an alternative fuel as well as save money." (To hear an approximately 2-minute interview with him, by NESEA's Steve D'Agostino, in MP3 format, visit Justin Carven.)

        http://www.bestrateofclimb.com/JustinCarven.mp3

Carl Vogel, who is entered in "Subdivision 3: Biodiesel", is founder, owner and CEO of Vogelbilt Corp. in West Babylon, NY.  He says biodiesel is very cost- effective.  "With the tax incentives now, the price of biodiesel has come down to what we're paying at the pump [for gasoline]," he says.  He says this trend is causing increasingly more consumers to switch from gasoline to biodiesel.  "Now that the [biodiesel] prices are the same [as] or less [than gasoline], it's really an easy decision." (To hear an approximately 1-minute-30-second interview with him, by NESEA's Steve D'Agostino, in MP3 format, visit Carl Vogel.)

        http://www.bestrateofclimb.com/CarlVogel.mp3


Report #3: Tour De Sol To Showcase Over 65 "Green" Cars At Saratoga Spring Auto Show

Today's Tour de Sol Press Release:

                 Tour De Sol To Showcase Over 65 "Green" Cars
                         At Saratoga Spring Auto Show

		Winners -
			Driving Toward Zero Carbon Emissions -
				To Be Announced May 14

GREENFIELD MA May 8, 2006

Expectations are high as the Tour de Sol, America's number one green car show and competition "driving toward zero carbon emissions" kicks off this week at the Saratoga Spa State Park and Saratoga Automobile Museum in Saratoga Springs, NY.  Over 65 teams will compete for bragging rights and $10,000 in cash prizes for the most fuel-efficient vehicles that aim to reduce oil use and climate change emissions to zero. 

Now in its 18th year, the Tour de Sol is a laboratory of automotive innovation - and the largest green car show in the USA.  After four days of competitions, the general public is invited to visit with the teams and auto companies offering advanced vehicles at the Tour de Sol exhibit at the Saratoga Automobile Museum's Spring Auto Show, on Saturday, May 13, 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.  In addition to vehicles in the competition, Toyota will display its three hybrids, including its new Camry hybrid, to be released May 15, and Lexus GS450h to be released next month.  Honda will display its compressed natural gas vehicle, "the cleanest car on earth." Sponsors will showcase their products, clean vehicle programs, Ford's hybrid Escape, and Honda's prototype hydrogen-powered vehicle. 

"For auto enthusiasts this is a tremendously exciting time - and it is tremendously exciting for us to be able to celebrate and showcase the progress made toward more environmentally-friendly vehicles," says Nancy Hazard of the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association (NESEA), organizer of the Tour de Sol.  "But we must do much more - we must strive to create new ways of getting around that do not emit carbon dioxide, the major source of climate change, and that do not depend on oil.  We can do it.  We can do it with energy efficiency and switching to clean domestically-produced energy and fuels."

"NYSERDA is pleased to bring the Tour de Sol to New York State so that together, we can showcase innovative technologies that will help lesson our dependence on foreign energy sources in the transportation sector," says Peter R. Smith, President and CEO of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, premier sponsor of the event. 

The Tour de Sol challenges auto companies, the general public, students, and entrepreneurs, to showcase new ideas and products and to compete in one of three competitions.  The Monte Carlo-style Rally and Fuel-Efficiency Competition challenges the general public to demonstrate how efficiently they can drive their hybrid or biofuel vehicles, or modifications of these vehicles.  The Tour de Sol Championship challenges entrants to build one-of-a-kind, highway-worthy vehicles that aim to reduce oil use and climate change emissions to zero.  And the Around Town Vehicle Competition challenges entrants to design motorized vehicles that could replace the conventional car in our communities with zero carbon emission vehicles. 

"We expect the modified hybrids to provide spectacular performance," says Jim Dunn, CEO of the Center for Technology Commercialization and Monte Carlo-style Rally sponsor.  "We anticipate that the hybrids that have been modified to be 'plug-in' hybrids, and those with turbo-charged engines will get over 40% better gas mileage than the EPA ratings, with one of them achieving over 100 mpg and capturing the Grand Champion award.  We also expect the biofueled vehicles to demonstrate their ability to reduce climate change emissions by over 70%."

Several corporate entries in the Monte Carlo-style Rally hope to gain visibility for their products.  Hymotion, of Concord, Ontario in Canada offers a kit that converts a conventional hybrid vehicle to a "plug-in" hybrid that uses more electricity and less gasoline.  Greasecar Vegetable Fuel Systems offers a kit that converts a conventional diesel vehicle to operate on used vegetable oil.  Eastern Biofuels and Vogelbilt aim to demonstrate that biodiesel can be used in a conventional diesel vehicle with no modifications, and reduce oil dependence and climate change emissions dramatically.  Over 30 teams will participate in the Monte Carlo-style competition this year. 

"The American Lung Association has named transportation emissions the #1 health threat, and transportation emits one third of all the climate change emissions," says Dr. Robert Wills, technical director of the Tour de Sol Championship.  "The experimental vehicles brought to the Tour de Sol by student and independent teams address this issue, and have led the way for the past 17 years."

Sixteen teams, including from as far away as India, have gathered to showcase a dizzying array of ideas and technologies in the Tour de Sol Championship.  Some teams have chosen to build battery-electric vehicles, or hydrogen-powered vehicles, with the vision that these vehicles can be powered by zero-carbon electricity or hydrogen produced locally by wind and solar - and some of them even have solar panels integrated into their vehicles.  Others have chosen to switch the drive train to a more efficient hybrid system, and still others have chosen to switch to a biofuel - biodiesel or biomethane - that will dramatically reduce health-threatening particulate emissions and climate change emissions.  One thing, however, that the entries have in common, is their effort to increase the fuel efficiency of their vehicles so as to reduce fuel use.  Many of the vehicles are one-of-a-kind purpose-built vehicles, designed to reduce energy use by being lighter and more aerodynamic.  Teams will receive trophies and $5,000 in prize money. 

The newest competition at the Tour de Sol, the Around Town Vehicle Competition, has attracted thirteen entries.  Optibike and RunAbout Cycles hope to demonstrate the range capabilities of their high-performance electric bikes and trikes, while student and independent teams aim to demonstrate new ways of getting around local communities with zero emission vehicles. 

"Building an electric bike or a neighborhood electric vehicle (NEV) is a tremendous learning opportunity," says Paul O'Brien of the Southern Berkshire Regional School District, creator of the new NEV competition rules.  "The project involves research, problem solving, teamwork, computer and hands-on experience, and creates awareness about our energy and environmental challenges and possible solutions."

Premier sponsors of the 2006 Tour de Sol are the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and the Center for Technology Commercialization.  Additional key sponsors include the New York Power Authority, the Saratoga Automobile Museum, Stewart's Shops, New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, Eastern Biofuels, New York Department of Environmental Conservation, Toyota, the UK Trade & Investment, Honda, Kurkoski Solar Electric, Westboro Toyota, the U.S.  Environmental Protection Agency, E- The Environmental Magazine, EIN Publishing, and GreenBiz.com. 

The Northeast Sustainable Energy Association, organizer of the Tour de Sol, is the Northeast's leading organization of professionals and concerned citizens working in sustainable energy, and whole systems thinking.  NESEA facilitates the widespread adoption and use of sustainable energy by providing support to industry professionals and by educating and motivating consumers to learn about, ask for and adopt sustainable-energy and green-building practices.  NESEA accomplishes this through conferences, K-12 educational resources, its members and chapters, its Sustainable Yellow Pages, and public events. 

Results will be announced to the news media on Sunday, May 14. 

To find out more about the Tour de Sol, please visit

                http://www.TourDeSol.org/

The 2006 Tour de Sol is Recommended for:

        The general public
        business and government leaders
        manufacturers
        students
        entrepreneurs
        hobbyists
        hybrid and biofuel vehicle owners
        anyone interested in learning more about advanced vehicles and
                driving toward zero carbon emissions. 

Organizer

         Northeast Sustainable Energy Association
                http://NESEA.org

Premier Sponsors

        New York State Energy Research and Development Authority
                http://www.NYSERDA.org
        Center for Technology Commercialization
                http://www.CTC.org

Event-Site Hosts

        Saratoga Spa State Park
                http://www.SaratogaSpaStatePark.org
        Saratoga Automobile Museum
                http://www.SaratogaAutoMuseum.com

CONTACT:

        Stef Komorowski (508) 698-6810  classic.pr@verizon.net
        Nancy Hazard    (413) 774-6051  hazard@NESEA.org


Report #4: A Bit More Detail on the Entrants

The Tour de Sol Entrants page has a bit more detail about who is brining what.  Extracted from:

	http://www.nesea.org/transportation/tour/2006Entrants.php

MONTE CARLO-STYLE RALLY

 
	Vehicle #
	Participants-Team Name 
	Make/Model 
	Propulsion System & Fuel 
	Participant name 
	City  State

 HYBRID DIVISION
  TOYOTA PRIUS "CLASSIC" (2001-2003)

	60 
	James Bush 
	2001 Toyota Prius Classic 
	HEV: Gasoline + Panasonic NMH 
	James Bush 
	Marlboro  MA

	51 
	James Mell 
	2003 Toyota Prius Classic 
	HEV: Gasoline + Panasonic NMH 
	James Mell 
	Holyoke  MA

	38 
	The Green Team 
	2002 Toyota Prius Classic 
	HEV: Gasoline + Panasonic NMH 
	Drew and Barbara Gillett 
	Bedford  MA

	44 
	Waquoit Bay Research Reserve 
	2002 Toyota Prius Classic 
	HEV: Gasoline + Panasonic NMH 
	Joan Muller 
	East Falmouth  MA

  TOYOTA PRIUS  (2004-2006)

	50 
	Brad Miller and Chip Dunn 
	2005 Toyota Prius 
	HEV: Gasoline + Panasonic NMH 
	Brad Miller and Chip Dunn 
	Worcester  MA

	46 
	Hybrid Center   http://www.hybridcenter.org
	2006 Toyota Prius 
	HEV: Gasoline + Panasonic NMH 
	Gilles Labelle 
	Westboro  MA

	57 
	Prius Owners Group 
	Toyota Prius 
	HEV: Gasoline + Panasonic NMH 
	Russell Frost 
	Lancaster  PA

	34 
	Vital Point 	http://www.vitalpoint.com
	2006 Toyota Prius 
	HEV: Gasoline + Panasonic NMH 
	John Schnebly 
	Wynantskill  NY

  HONDA INSIGHT - MANUAL TRANSMISSION

	41 
	C. Michael Lewis Graphics 
	2000 Honda Insight - manual 
	HEV: Gaoline + Electric Assist 
	Michael Lewis 
	Portland  ME

	52 
	Charles Sullivan 
	2001 Honda Insight - manual 
	HEV: Gaoline + Electric Assist 
	Charles Sullivan 
	West Lebanon  CT

	59 
	Eric Sprague 
	2000 Honda Insight - manual 
	HEV: Gaoline + Electric Assist 
	Eric Sprague 
	New York  NY

	42 
	Interfaith Power & Light 
	2000 Honda Insight - manual 
	HEV: Gaoline + Electric Assist 
	Steve MacAusland 
	Dedham  MA

	55 
	John Waiveris 
	2001 Honda Insight - manual 
	HEV: Gaoline + Electric Assist 
	John Waiveris 
	Windsor  CT

	47 
	Solar Design Associates 
	2001 Honda Insight - manual 
	HEV: Gaoline + Electric Assist 
	Erich Dieffenbach 
	Hudson  MA

	40 
	Wayne Gerdes 
	2000 Honda Insight - manual 
	HEV: Gaoline + Electric Assist 
	WayneGerdes 
	Wadsworth  IL

  HONDA CIVIC HYBRID - CVT

	48 
	Kurkoski Solar Electric 
	2003 Honda Civic Hybrid CVT 
	HEV: Gaoline + Electric Assist 
	Janice and Steve Kurkoski 
	Warwick  MA

	58 
	Michel Houle 
	2003 Honda Civic Hybrid CVT 
	HEV: Gaoline + Electric Assist 
	Michel Houle 
	St. Colonban 
	Quebec Canada

  FORD ESCAPE HYBRID & MERCURY MARRINER

	43 
	NYSERDA 
	Ford Escape 
	HEV: Gaoline + Electric Assist 
	Dave McCabe 
	Albany  NYbec

 MODIFIED HYBRIDS - PLUG-IN HYBRIDS

	49 
	Genesis One 
	2000 Honda Insight -manual trany 
	Solar charged with MIMA controls 
	Mike Dabrowski 
	North Grosvenordale  CT

	39 
	Hymotion: Plug-in hybrid kit 	http://www.hymotion.com/
	2005 Toyota Prius conversion  Added Li-Ion Battery pack 
	Ricardo Bazzarella 
	Concord 
	Ontario Canada

 MODIFIED HYBRIDS - Turbo

	61 
	Hybrid Turbo 
	2005 Honda Insight - modified 
	HEV: Modified Honda Insight - Turbo 
	Jack Lee and Babe 
	Venice  FL

	54 
	Turbocharged 
	2001 Honda Insight - modified 
	Modified Honda Insight - Turbo 
	Willy Williford 
	Campo  CA
	 
	
	
 ALTERNATIVE FUEL DIVISION

	36 
	Colin McCullough 
	2000 VW New Beetle TDI 
	ICE: Biodiesel (B100) 
	Colin McCullough 
	Sutton  MA

	33 
	Gavin Watson 
	1973 Porsche 914 
	ICE: 100% Soybean oil 
	Gavin Watson 
	Ridgefield  CT

	19 
	Greasecar Vegetable Fuel Systems 
	1976 Austin Mini Clubman Conversion 
	ICE: 100% Vegetable oil 
	Justin Carven 
	Easthampton  MA

	35 
	Homeland Energy Resources Dev't 
	2005 Honda Civic GX 
	ICE: CNG 
	Margaret Sullivan 
	Syracuse  NY

	45 
	Hudson Valley Biodiesel Coop
	 http://web.mac.com/rgshomo/iWeb/Biodiesel%20Escort%20Project/Welcome.html
	1984 Ford Escort diesel 
	ICE: Biodiesel (B20) 
	Richard Shomo 
	Rhinebeck  NY

	12 
	Vogelbilt 	http://www.vogelbilt.com
	2004 Ford F250 Pick-up 
	ICE: Biodiesel (B100) 
	Carl Vogel 
	West Babylon  NY

 DISPLAY ONLY

	Denise Barton, Mike Taylor 
	1982 Mercedes 240D 
	ICE:Biodiesel - SVO 
	Denise Barton, Mike Taylor 
	Redhook  NY

	Douglas Kabat-Sr. HS Student 
	1983 Mercedes-Benz 300 
	ICE: Biodiesel (B50)+WVO 
	Douglas Kabat 
	Jaffrey  NH

	Jeffrey Van Deusen 
	1997 Volkswagon/Passat TDI 
	ICE: Biodiesl (B100) 
	Jeffrey Van Deusen 
	East Lyme  CT

	Joanne and Paul Coons 
	2003 VW Jetta 
	ICE: Biodiesel - B100 
	Joanne and Paul Coons 
	Rexford  NY

	Michael Wenis 
	na 
	na 
	Michael Wenis 
	North Salem

AROUND-TOWN VEHICLE COMPETITION

 CATEGORY: ELECTRIC BICYCLES AND TRICYLES VEHICLES
	
	Vehicle # 
	Participant-Team Name 
	Make/Model 
	Propulsion System & Fuel 
	City  State

  PRODUCTION DIVISION:

	8 
	Optibike, LLC 
	Optibike Model 400 Production E-bike pedal assist, model 400 
	Electric + Pedal: Battery: NiMH and Lithium Ion 
	Boulder CO

	23 
	RunAbout Cycles 
	RunAbout (Trike) 
	Electric + Pedal: Battery: Valence Lithium Ion 
	Florence MA

  INDEPENDENT DIVISION:

	9 
	EV Tech 
	Modified Wavecrest Tidal Force S750X E-bike 
	Electric + Pedal: Battery: Lithium Polymer 
	Pauling NY

	25 
	Michael Powers 
	Recumbent bike  with RunAbout Cycles tech. 
	Electric: Lithium Ion 
	Greenfield MA

  STUDENT DIVISION:

	3 
	NTID Ebike Club at RIT 
	Purpose-built (no pedals) 
	Electric + Thundersky:Lithium Ion 
	Rochester NY

	4 
	NTID Ebike Club at RIT 
	Conversion (pedal assist) 
	Battery Electric + Pedal + Battery: Lithium Ion 
	Rochester NY

	22 
	Proctor Academy Team Electron 
	Purpose-built: E-scooter 
	Electric: PbA 
	Andover NH

	5 
	NFA Solar Racing Team (HS) 
	Purpose-built E-bike 
	Battery: PbA 
	New Windsor NY

 CATEGORY: NEIGHBORHOOD ELECTRIC VEHICLES
	
	Vehicle # 
	Participant-Team Name 
	Make/Model 
	Propulsion System & Fuel 
	City  State

  INDEPENDENT DIVISION:

	24 
	Saratoga Spa State Park 
	GEM Vehicle 
	BEV: Battery: PbA 
	Saratoga Springs NY

  STUDENT DIVISION:

	21 
	Project e-3 (S. Berkshire RSD) 
	GEM Vehicle-solar conversion 
	BEV: PB Solar + Battery:PbA 
	Sheffield MA

 CATEGORY: TRACK (NON-ROAD) ELECTRIC VEHICLES
	
	Vehicle # 
	Participant-Team Name 
	Make/Model 
	Propulsion System & Fuel 
	City  State

  STUDENT DIVISION:

	6 
	NFA Solar Racing Team (HS) 
	non-road Solar assisted EV 
	Solar (monocrystaline) + Battery PbA 
	New Windsor NY

	26 
	Colonie Central HS 
	Non-road Electrathon Vehicle 
	BEV 
	West Albany NY

	27 
	Colonie Central HS 
	Non-road Electrathon Vehicle 
	BEV 
	West Albany NY

TOUR DE SOL CHAMPIONSHIP

 CATEGORY: HYBRID & ALTERNATIVE FUEL VEHICLES
	
	Vehicle # 
	Participant-Team Name 
	Make/Model 
	Propulsion System & Fuel 
	Vehicle Name
	City  State

  INDEPENDENT DIVISION: light duty vehicles

	18 
	Intergalactic Hydrogen 
	Hummer conversion 
	ICE: Hydrogen 
	H2TOY 
	Sandy UT

	12 
	Vogelbilt 
	2004 Ford F250 Pick up 
	ICE: Biodiesl (B100) 
	Biodiesel Ford 250F 
	West Babylon NY

	19 
	Greasecar Vegetable Fuel Systems 
	1976 Austin Mini Clubman Conversion 
	ICE: 100% Vegetable oil 
	Greasecar Austin Mini 
	Easthampton MA

  STUDENT DIVISION: light duty vehicles

	65 
	St. Mark's EV Club 
	2000 VW Jetta TDI 
	ICE: Biodiesel (B100) 
	Moritz 
	Southborough MA

	2 
	WPHS EV Team (West Philly HS) 
	2005 Attack kit car conversion 
	ICE: Biodiesel (B100) 
	The Attack 
	Philadelphia PA

	32 
	Western Washington U. Hybrid Club 
	Purpose-built sedan 
	HEV: Bio-methane + Panasonic NMH 
	Viking 32 
	Bellingham WA

  STUDENT DIVISION: one-person vehicles

	99 
	DCE Hybrid Car Team (Delhi College, India) 
	Purpose-Built 
	HEV: Gasoline (RFG) + Trojan PbA 
	Fledge 
	New Delhi India
	

 CATEGORY: BATTERY ELECTRIC VEHICLES
	
	Vehicle # 
	Participant-Team Name 
	Make/Model 
	Propulsion System & Fuel 
	Vehicle Name
	City  State

  INDEPENDENT DIVISION: light duty vehicles

	20 
	EVermont 
	2005 Toyota Echo Conversion 
	Electrtic: (Battery: ZEBRA nickel sodium chloride) 
	Evergreen 
	Waterbury VT

  STUDENT DIVISION: light duty vehicles

	16 
	Burlington County Electechs 
	1986 Ford Escort conversion 
	Electric (Battery: Exide PbA + GP Lithium Ion 
	Olympian 
	Lawrenceville NJ

	14 
	Methacton Electric Car Club (HS) 
	1999 "Lomax" kit car conversion 
	Electric (Battery: Eagle Picher PbA) 
	Lorax 
	Norristown PA

	66 
	UM Solar Vehicle Team (U. Maine) 
	1982 Chevy S-15 conversion 
	Electric (Battery:Trojan PbA) 
	Phantom Sol 
	Orono ME

	53 
	North Haven Community School 
	1987 VW Vanagon conversion 
	Electric (Battery: Trojan PbA) 
	rEVolution Ride 
	North Haven ME

	
 CATEGORY: SOLAR-ASSISTED ELECTRIC VEHICLES
	
	Vehicle # 
	Participant-Team Name 
	Make/Model 
	Propulsion System & Fuel 
	Vehicle Name
	City  State

  STUDENT DIVISION: One-person light-duty vehicles

	17 
	Penn Solar Racing 
	Purpose built 
	Electric (Solar + Battery: Electrovaya Li-polymer) 
	Keystone 
	Philadelphia PA

	7 
	West Irondequoit Solar Car Team 
	1999 Purpose-built 
	Electric (Solar + Battery: Trojan PbA) 
	Zodiac 
	Rochester NY

	92 
	Cato-Meridian High School Tech Team 
	1992 Purpose-built 
	Electric (Solar + Battery: Ovonics NiMH) 
	Sunpacer 
	Cato NY

  STUDENT DIVISION: Two-person light-duty vehicles

	56 
	St. Mark's EV Club 
	1994 Ford Ranger, conversion 
	Electric: (Solar + Battery: Trojan PbA) 
	Woodstock 
	Southborough MA


Report #5: Photos - First Photographs

Photographs from the Tour de Sol:

	http://www.AutoAuditorium.com/TdS_Reports_2006/photos_001.html

First Photographs

Here are some early photographs of the entrants as they showed up for technical testing on Wednesday, May 10th. 

The Attack, from West Philadelphia High School, runs on biodiesel.  Originally conceived as a through-the-road parallel hybrid, this year it is running strictly as an alternative fuel vehicle.  By next year they hope to complete the front-wheel electric drive. 

Fledge, from the Delhi College of Engineering in India.  A parallel hybrid conceived, researched, designed, and built by 7 friends at Delhi College, with help from parents, technology and equipment companies, and the Indian government.  The team members have already won the prize for the most disrupted biological clocks. 

eVermont, from the eVermont projects, is another take on the battery-electric vehicle.  This time a Zebra is married with Azure Dynamics (nee Solectria) a drive system in a Toyota Echo. 

Take a 1976 British Austin Mini Clubman, drop in a Peugeot diesel engine, plumb it for both biodiesel and vegetable oil operation with components from Greasecar Vegetable Fuel Systems, and you have something quite cute and unique. 

The Lorax, from Methacton High School in Norristown Pennsylvania returns, with a keep-the-sun-off-me roof. 

The Olympian returns, this time with a combination of lead-acid and lithium ion batteries.  It is a joint project of Burlington County Institute of Technology and Burlington County Community College. 

Originally built for the American Solar Challenge, Keystone from the University of Pennsylvania's Penn Solar Car Team makes its first appearance at the Tour.  (Don't worry.  The wheels are around here someplace!)

The rEVolutionride van has been in daily service on North Haven Island off the coast of Maine since 1972.  It also is a valuable teaching tool.  Yes, those are battery boxes under the bench seats. 

The St Mark's EV Club built Woodstock as a demonstration both of a battery-electric truck that had practical use in and around campus, but also as an example of using solar energy without owning solar panels.  They buy their electrons from certified "green" energy suppliers. 

Take a stock Volkswagen Jetta TDI, run it on 100% biodiesel produced on campus from leftover vegetable oil from the St Mark's School's food service and you have Moritz, an environmental education tool and economical practical transportation. 

Sunpacer is a perennial.  This entrant from Cato-Meridian High School's Technology Club, Cato NY, has shown slow and steady progress since 1992. 

As the name suggests, Viking32 has a long pedigree.  Western Washington University Hybrid Club's entry runs on biomethane captured from landfills.  Methane is many times more damaging a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, so this vehicle lowers greenhouse pollution as it drives. 

Some of us think the Vogelbilt battery-electric motorcycle sounds the way all motorcycles should sound.  No roar; just a whisper. 

But when Carl Vogel cannot ride his electric hog, he hops into his Ford F250 (also named Vogelbilt) which has spent the past 3 years using nothing but B100 biodiesel. 

The Zodiac hails from West Irondequoit High School in Rochester New York.  Another solar-electric vehicle with a long history at the Tour de Sol, it also has a history of steady refinement. 


Report #6: Team Profile: The Fledge

        Necessity is the mother of all inventions and the mounting burden
        of petroleum prices on the common man kindled the spark in us to
        unearth the technology with a revolutionary drive-train. 

        The Team:  Abhishek Agarwal, Ashish Dudani, Abhinav Bharia,
        Abhinav Duggal, Anubhav Jain, Siddhartha Arora, Nitesh Gupta. 

So declares the handout for The Fledge, a one-person hybrid electric car from seven engineering students at Delhi College of Engineering in India, that is a project for their degree from the college in two months.  "If we win the Tour de Sol it will definitely help our grade."

 Engine
        Displacement    1 cylinder, 346 cc, air cooled
        Bore and Stroke  70 mm x 90 mm
        Maximum Power    18 bhp @ 5625 rpm
        Maximum Torque  2.74 kg-m @ 2775 rpm
        Carburetor      Micarb VM 24
        Fuel            Gasoline, 13 liters

 Transmission
        Manual          4 forward (syncromesh), 1 rear

 Motor
        Permanent Magnet Brushed DC, custom built
        Rated Power     3.5 hp @ 3000 rpm
        Torque          7.0 Nm @ 3000 rpm
        Rated Voltage   48 V
        Rated Current   72 Amps

 Batteries
        8  6-Volt deep discharge Lead Acid

 Controller             Curtis 2201

 Suspension
        Front           McPherson Strut and coil spring
        Rear            Leaf and coil springs

 Brakes
        Front           Disc
        Rear            Drum

"We started this car 1 1/2 years ago.  We researched for about 8 months and then we started building it.  It is a rear wheel drive, driven by either the gasoline engine or the electric motor, one at a time.  A switch selects between engine and motor mode." In electric mode, the accelerator pedal controls the motor, and in gas mode that pedal controls the engine.  The clutch has no function in electric mode.  The batteries are only charged when plugged in.  "The car is designed for urban traffic use.  The electric mode has a range of about 100 kilometers.  On gasoline we have been getting 28 miles per liter, which means more than 300 kilometers."

To the left of the driver's seat is a gear shift lever and the clutch pedal is to the left of the transmission housing.  On the right side of the housing are the brake and accelerator pedals.  It is licensed for on-road use, under some restrictions, with a temporary license. 

The windscreen wiper arrangement is unusual.  There are two, one mounted at the center of the bottom of the windscreen, the other at the center of the top.  The windscreen extends at the bottom to help duct air into the engine compartment. 

The batteries are mounted 4 in front and 4 in the rear of the vehicle for balance.  The custom built motor was a joint effort between the manufacturer Rotomag and the students.  The chassis was designed by the students and made of welded steel 3 x 6 centimeter box-tubing.  The body is made of fiber reinforced plastic (FRP), designed by the students and manufacturer, AGM, together. 

Other sponsors and financial supporters include JBM, Kayemel, Air India, Mahindra & Mahindra, the Indian Department of Science and Technology. 

"We want to thank our teachers, our professors and especially our parents.  Their financial support and the emotional support over the last year and half has been tremendous!" The initial self-investment was 150,000 Rupees. 

The seven students, all 21 years old or less, are friends from New Delhi or Rajajsdhan that met when they got to college.  "We thought of doing something good, something which could conserve and address this issue of rising energy costs.  In consultation with our teachers we came up with the idea of designing our own hybrid car." They started without funding, but after seeing their paper work companies started to fund parts of the cost.  Their started learning about hybrids.  "We had no knowledge of what was a hybrid car." They looked at the advantages and disadvantages.  Why was it not popular in the markets? Why weren't battery-only vehicles not doing well in the market?

When they started to think about solutions they built their first drive-train as a bench-top exercise to test and measure performance.  The chassis was designed in the computer-aided design program SolidWorks and analyzed in the drive train in a program called Advisor. 

Why come to the Tour de Sol? This is half a world away from home! "We needed to showcase what we had done." They looked for other competitions closer to home but they didn't find any.  "We searched for 40, 50 days." The Tour de Sol proved the one they needed to go to. 

I was interested to hear that, as of yet, there are no hybrids sold in India.  There are Mahindra and Reva electric-only vehicles for sale, with the usual limitations.  They are most used in commercial and a few private applications. 


Report #7: Photos - The Fledge

Photographs from the Tour de Sol:

	http://www.AutoAuditorium.com/TdS_Reports_2006/photos_002.html

Photos: The Fledge

Seven young engineers explore the idea of an Indian designed and built hybrid car. 

Team Portrait

The windscreen sits a bit forward and up to help direct air into the intake for the engine.  direct

The roll bar is now in place.  Here you can also see the center console that contains the 4-speed transmission and ducts fan-driven air from the front to the rear.  The clutch pedal is to the left, brake and accelerator to the right. 


Report #8: Team Profile: Evergreen

Because the Tour de Sol has been going on _so_ long, we have the opportunity to see long absent friends return. 

We last saw Harold Garabedian and the eVermont crowd in 1999, "when we were the overall champions with a Solectria Force running nickel metal hydride batteries." They have not been idle in the mean time.  They have returned with a conversion of a Toyota Echo called Evergreen that runs on ZEBRA batteries. 

((We'll take a slight diversion here.  We didn't talk much about just how a ZEBRA battery works.  A quick trip to Google provided:

MES DEA S.A. of Stabio Switzerland makes the ZERBRA battery pack in the car.  Their web site says, "they use salt and nickel for electrode materials with a ceramic electrolyte."

        http://cebi-new.kicms.de/cebi-internet/frameset/fr_index?lang=E

 From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Molten_salt_battery
        The zebra battery, which operates at 250C, utilizes molten sodium
        chloroaluminate, (NaAlCl4) which has a melting point of approximately
        160C, as the electrolyte.  The negative electrode is molten sodium. 
        The positive electrode is nickel in the discharged state and nickel
        chloride in the charged state.  Because nickel and nickel chloride are
        nearly insoluble in neutral and basic melts, intimate contact is
        allowed, providing little resistance to charge transfer.  Since both
        NaAlCl4 and Na are liquid at the operating temperature, a sodium-
        conducting beta-alumina ceramic is used to separate the liquid sodium
        from the molten NaAlCl4. This battery was invented in 1985 by Coetzer
        in Pretoria, South Africa, hence the name zebra battery.  The
        technical name for the battery is Na-NiCl2 battery. 
))

"The battery has been around for a while and constantly getting better.  It's at a point where we thought we would try it out and see how it performs." They used the ZEBRAs in a Toyota Echo equipped with a drive system (motor and controller) from Azure Dynamics (the successor company to Solectria).  "The systems are far smarter, more complex and more integrated, with more power and more torque" than the old Solectria Force.  Looking under the hood, the basic layout is the same as before.  "It has a smarter, digital controller.  We have CAN bus controls and information sharing, plus a battery management system. 

"The passenger heating system is pretty sophisticated, since we come from Vermont.  It has both an electric and kerosene-fired heater set up so they can be run individually or in tandem." There are two chargers on board, one each for the front and back battery packs. 

"We've known how to make electric cars for a while.  We keep making refinements to it.  We are running about 20 kiloWatt-hours, 80 to 100 miles.  We haven't done a range test on it yet.  The car has only been operational a week or two. 

"The manufacturer sells the ZEBRA battery as a system with internal battery management.  They output that information to a CAN bus that we have integrated with the controller and drive system.  Much like today's modern cars, you can connect up to a computer and see all the diagnostics and parameters at any point in time. 

"The mission of the car is, first of all, to show that battery electric cars are still here and can perform, and that we are advancing the technology.  We will deploy this car in an integrated transportation idea to show that this car can be part of transportation rather than thinking of all cars as personal property.  We'll have three cars." They built and are qualifying this one to refine the next two. 

Stephen Miracle joined in the conversation.  They are using the controller to get the best range and treat the batteries properly.  "It is set to give batteries the current draw they are looking for.  50 kiloWatts is the set peak power, 20 kiloWatts is the nominal power."

Greg Wight mentioned that the project is sponsored by the Federal Transportation Administration to put this into a transportation system.  "A 4 passenger station car is the concept." Originally this project, started in 2002, was going to use the Ford Th!nk City vehicles, but they pulled out.  Then they thought they might get some Toyota RAV4-EVs, but that didn't happen.  Then Stephen said that he could build EVs, the board of directors said, "Go for it." Stephen built the car mechanically.  They then took the car to Azure where they and a battery guy flown over from MES DEA worked together to make the Azure software communicate with the battery system. 

And there is another eVermont car, in transit from the west coast.  "It's a little bit different for us.  It's a hydrogen powered Prius that is part of a whole system that we are developing.  There is an electrolyzer refueler system to provide the hydrogen, generated with wind-turbine credited electricity.  The vision of the project is Wind To Wheels."


Report #9: Photos - Evergreen

Photographs from the Tour de Sol:

	http://www.AutoAuditorium.com/TdS_Reports_2006/photos_003.html

Evergreen

eVermont returns after a long absence with another take on the idea of "station car."

Look Ma! No tail pipe!

EVers always try to find a clever place to put the plug. 

If you are familiar with the Solectria Force, you'll find this similar.  The bar between the shock absorber towers supports the motor.  The controller sits on top of the front battery box between the front wheel wells. 

The trunk contains the rear battery pack and battery support components. 


Report #10: Team Profile: Vogelbilt

Carl Vogel returns to the Tour de Sol, both as a participant and a sponsor.  His company provides biodiesel to the Tour, both for participants and the diesel generator used to charge the electric and plugin-hybrid cars.  His company in in West Babylon, New York.  "We are going to have the first renewable fueling station on Long Island, with biodiesel, biodiesel blends, ethanol and CNG, branded as a Vogelbilt station."

His big entry in the Tour is #12, a stock Ford F-250 6 liter diesel that has only seen biodiesel, and a little bit of kerosene during the winter, in its 81,000 miles.  It was here at the Tour in 2004, when it was brand new, and again in 2005. 

His little entry is the Vogelbilt electric motor cycle, which has also been here before.  "It was featured on Discovery Science recently, as part of the CoolFuel Roadtrip series.  (It's earlier title was Eco-treker.) They had the bike for about a year.  The started in Wisconsin, and visited Florida, New York, Miami and California.  It was one of their primary vehicles." The whole idea was to go around and try all sorts of cool transportation.  But the motorcycle was that vehicle somehow got involved. 

A bike story.  "Marty thought they were finished with the bike and was playing around with it, smoking the rear tire.  It grabbed the ground and snapped the belt.  Shaun was upset because he needed the bike for the last stop to finish the show, so they had to scramble to find the belt.  It's two teeth shorter than a standard Harley belt, so you really have to look for it.  The hunt for the belt became part of the show."

What's next? The biodiesel business keeps Carl busy.  "We have BioHeat for home heating, and making the fueling station happen.  And then a biodiesel motorcycle.  The TDI-like engines on a motorcycle would still be a low-emission engine with lots of power.  And sound!" And if you like, smell like french fries. 


Report #11: Photos - Vogelbilt

Photographs from the Tour de Sol:

	http://www.AutoAuditorium.com/TdS_Reports_2006/photos_004.html

Vogelbilt

Carl's collection of Tour de Sol vehicles. 

The F-250 has been on a biodiesel diet since it was purchased. 

Now this sounds like _I_ think a motorcycle should sound ... 

and looks like _I_ think a motorcycle should look. 

Carl always brings his Elec-Trak lawn tractor to the Tour de Sol, but we haven't found a category to enter it in.  It would probably win by default. 


Report #12: Greasecar

Cosimo Ferrante is standing next to this _tiny_ lime-green and white car, wearing a teeshirt that declares MadHouseMinis.com.  What are we looking at?

"This is a 1980 Austin Mini Clubman, made in the United Kingdom.  In about 1970 they facelifted the Mini Cooper, and offered the round-nosed Cooper or the flat-nosed Clubman.  The Clubman was a popular style in Australia and New Zealand, but it wasn't in Europe or the US."

But this isn't an original.  It has been modified to make it into a Greasecar, that can run on waste vegetable oil.  What had to be done? "We lengthened lower section of the front nose to fit this Peugeot 1.5 liter diesel engine into it.  That engine was popular in French and UK cars in the 1980s, but never intended for this body."

Cosimo did the car modification to make it ready for the Greasecar kit.  In the rear boot there are two tanks.  A welded aluminum tank for the vegetable oil has an internal heater and sleeved fuel lines to keep the vegetable oil fluid, and the original steel tank carries the diesel or biodiesel needed when starting and stopping the car.  Each tank has its own external filler cap, labeled "Vegetable Oil Only" or "Diesel Oil Only". 

Justin Craven is founder, owner and operator of Greasecar Vegetable Fuel Systems LLC in Easthampton, MA, which offers a kit to convert a conventional diesel vehicle to run on vegetable oil.  That is what was done to this car.  Next to the diesel engine is a machined block with steel jacketed fuel hoses going into and out of it.  When you start the car, the diesel tank is connected to the engine, through this block, by both source and return fuel lines.  Once the engine is warm and the vegetable fuel is warm enough to flow, the system switches over to vegetable fuel by connecting the source and return lines to the vegetable oil tank.  Finally, before shutting off the engine, the vegetable fuel is "purged" by running diesel fuel into the engine but leaving the vegetable return line connected.  Thus the diesel fuel displaces the vegetable oil, preparing the engine for its next cold start. 

Justin started working with this technology in 1998.  "We have been in business since the beginning of 2001.  It was a slow start, but now with fuel prices so high people are looking for alternatives and small independent companies like Greasecar Vegetable Fuel Systems offer options that the larger manufacturers don't.  Right now we are averaging 20 sales a day.  Each kit is a full secondary fuel system: tank, filter, all the valves, plumbing and wiring; everything you need for the vehicle you are doing.  The prices start at $795 for most passenger vehicles and up towards $2000 for the larger pickup trucks.  We have had people with limited automotive knowledge do the conversion, but it is a bit of a project, so it is not for everyone.  But we also have mechanics in different parts of the country who can do the installation for you.  They are listed on the website. 

                http://GreaseCar.com

"The newer Volkswagen TDI models are the simplest kits to install, with the most documentation and vehicle-specific parts.  That and the Mercedes are very popular."

Oh.  And the Greasecar Mini is still set up as a British right-hand drive. 


Report #13: Photos - Greasecar

Photographs from the Tour de Sol:

	http://www.AutoAuditorium.com/TdS_Reports_2006/photos_005.html

Greasecar

Driving on used vegetable oil takes a waste product and turns it into a fuel when the car uses the Greasecar conversion kit. 

This restored Mini Clubman does not look 26 years old. 

The engine and Greasecar components. 

Closeup of the Greasecar components. 

If it wasn't for the signage, you might not notice that this car has both a left and right fuel cap.  (All the Tour de Sol entrants have to demonstrate safe handling characteristics, hence this zig-zag-through-the-cones test.  You kissed one! But it is still in the circle, so you're OK.)

This Mercedes Diesel uses essentially the same Greascar fuel system as the Mini. 


Report #14: Interview: Nancy Hazard, Director of the Tour de Sol

Nancy has found lots of things to be excited about this year. 

"The return of the eVermont people is tremendously exciting to me, for a lot of reasons.  Not only are their continuing the research they have been doing for years and years, but now they have some new vehicles.  And the kinds of vehicles they are working on are spectacular.  The fact that they brought the Evergreen, battery-electric vehicle with a much better battery than in previous station cars, to the Tour is great.  It brings us full circle from where we started.  They are taking delivery soon on a Prius running on hydrogen.  And they have ordered a plugin-hybrid Prius.  I find the plugin-hybrids thrilling. 

"We can increase fuel economy, shrinking the energy pie, by getting a high percentage of the vehicles traveling in electric mode, at least in part." Nancy also sees shrinking the energy pie as helping the biofuels, because they can then be a more significant percentage of the whole, even with limited production.  And of course biofuels are recycling recent carbon-dioxide, because the CO2 in exhaust can be taken up by growing plants to become the biofuel on the next cycle. 

"The Viking32 from Western Washington University is using biomethane.  This is the first year they have brought their own biomethane, created from landfills and farm manure.  Methane (CH4), molecule-for-molecule is 20 times as potent a greenhouse gas as carbon dioxide (CO2).  So by capturing methane, using it to power a car and releasing carbon dioxide, you've greatly improved the atmosphere over the case if the methane had been released. 

"The vehicle from India is also exciting, for a number of reasons.  They have looked at the transportation needs in India and are trying to meet them.  I like that thinking, creating a vehicle that uses the least amount of energy possible to fulfill that mission.  Their one person gasoline / plugin electric hybrid tries to address those needs. 

"We have a number of one-person vehicles entered, including the around-town vehicles.  Optibike from Colorado and RunAbout Cycles from Massachusetts are both emerging and getting into production.  Optibike is going to attempt to demonstrate the ability to go 100 miles in three hours.  Now they have been training in the Rocky Mountains, so they may see this area as flat, and our lower elevation as oxygen rich, but averaging 33 miles per hour on regular roads with stop lights and signs and traffic is amazing!

"The National Technical School for the Deaf is one of the eight colleges of the Rochester Institute of Technology.  Their 12 member team is bringing two E-Bikes that they have designed themselves. 

"Paul O'Brien, who was active with the Tour for many years is coming back.  Their team was the first to bring a fuel-cell powered vehicle (actually a human-hybrid tricycle) to the Tour in 1998.  They a bringing a GEM neighborhood electric vehicle that the students are using for experimentation.  And they have partnered with the Vreeland Institute of Arts and Sciences to create an educational trailer with every renewable technology on it you could imagine. 

"We also have a GEM from a company called Solaqua which will be providing a solar-powered public address system for our press event.  The vehicle _is_ the PA system. 

"And, as an example of meeting the goal of less energy intensive transportation by lowering vehicle weight, we have an exhibitor, Starfire, at the press event that has a light-weight ceramic disc brake rotor that also claims superior braking ability." They have a product for motorcycles, and are working on ones for vans and trucks. 

"The scoring of the Tour de Sol Competition has changed this year.  In the past the `green' parts of the scoring, for example fuel economy and climate change emissions, were about 40% of the grade.  Acceleration, hill climb, range, handling, etc. were the rest.  Now the divide 50-50.  That makes the competitions in the alternative fuel categories much more competitive."

Since it began, the Tour de Sol has sent the message that how we create and use transportation has effect on our economy, our climate, and our quality of life.  Recent increases in gas prices and weather events have reinforced the message.  How has that affected the Tour?

"I feel we are at a point where we can talk about climate change emissions from transportation.  It has been on the front cover of Time magazine, the National Geographic and Forbes and written and talked about extensively in the business and general news communities.  The question used to be was there a problem.  Now it is, `What do we do about it?' The Tour de Sol has always been solution oriented.  Transportation contributes one-third of the climate change emissions; that's a fact." The things you see at the Tour can help change that. 


Report #15: Team Profile: Woodstock and Moritz

Environmentalists often bemoan the distortions that "the marketplace" inject into the value of natural resources.  But sometimes the marketplace can be made to work for you in your desire to be "green".  Such is the message that Ken Wells and the team from Saint Mark's School have attached to their two entries in the Tour de Sol. 

Woodstock is a Ford Ranger 4x4 converted to electric drive by the St Mark's EV club.  It has a 300 Watt solar panel over the truck bed to charge the batteries with "free" solar energy, but it would take a very, very long time to fill the batteries that way.  So they plug it in.  But when they do they also charge from solar panels and wind power, but without owning other solar panels or a wind generator.  Instead they buy their green power from a green supplier through the grid. 

"The pollution of generating electricity comes from the source of the power you buy," Ken explains, "and we buy green power.  We are using this truck to tell the public how they can buy green power too." St.  Marks buys its recharging power from Conservation Services Group.  "They have a product called ClimateSAVE that is 95% Kansas wind and 5% Evergreen solar.  Evergreen places 50 kiloWatt solar panel arrays on top of BJ's stores; there is one 6 miles from here."

Moritz is a TDI Volkswagen Jetta running B100 biodiesel.  "We display these two vehicles side-by-side to illustrate our theme: The Hybrid Driveway.  If you can only have one car, a hybrid is a good idea.  But if you separate the electric from the fuel drive you can capitalize on each's distinct advantages.  Last year Woodstock got 92 miles per gallon equivalent, with no greenhouse gas emission.  The biodiesel car gets over 700 miles per tank of fuel.  It's lifetime average as a biodiesel is about 45 miles per gallon, with the performance you expect from a turbo.  On biofuels, Moritz is about as clean as a Toyota Prius."


Report #16: Photos - Woodstock and Moritz

Photographs from the Tour de Sol:

	http://www.AutoAuditorium.com/TdS_Reports_2006/photos_006.html

Woodstock and Moritz

One battery electric EV + one biodiesel TDI Jetta = one Hybrid Driveway
or so says the new math. 

Woodstock, the battery electric EV of the equation. 

Motitz, the biodiesel TDI Jetta. 

One way to get accurate fuel usage measurements is to have a removable fuel tank and to weigh it.  Moritz has such a tank. 

It is hard to read the bumper sticker in this photo, but it says "Powered By American Electrons". 

Ken Wells makes the case for the EV half of the Hybrid Driveway ... 

and the biodiesel half. 


Report #17: Monte Carlo Rally Entries: The Turbo Insights

Both Willie Williford from Campo California and Jack Lee from Venice Florida are here for the Monte Carlo Rally, and they both have Honda Insights that they each have turbocharged. 

Willie is an old racer guy.  "I heard people complaining that the little Honda Insight has no power.  So, in February of 2003, I showed them that you can get power out of the car without sacrificing gas mileage.  Willie came 3,053 miles at an overall average of 64.2 miles per gallon.  "That's running a posted or above speed limits.  In other words I went with the flow of traffic.  If they were doing 80, I was doing 80.  If they were doing 65, I was doing 65."

Jack says that he followed Willie's example.  Starting with his ideas, Jack made a hybrid-turbo-hybrid compressor.  "In other words the turbine section, that runs off the exhaust gases is for a 1-liter size engine, like the Honda Insight.  The compressor side, that supplies the forced air to the engine is for a 1.4 liter engine.  That makes it a hybrid-turbo." Willie helped Jack develop the first version, and then Jack upgraded it for his newest Insight.  "It is a Garrett water-cooled, ball bearing turbo engineered by Performance Turbos out west.  It is _specifically_ designed for a manual transmission Insight."

Jack makes the point that before Willie made is turbo modification to his Insight, the popular wisdom on Insight Central was that it couldn't be done.  "In a standard Insight, if you drive 80 miles per hour, you are going to get about 55 miles per gallon.  Sure you can get great mileage, but not at true highway speeds.  With Willies turbo, he get 64 miles per gallon at those speeds; fast enough to please a motor head! Now he is known at InsightCentral.net as the father of the Turbo Hybrid."

At this point, the designs that Willie and Jack have produced are not offered commercially.  But Jack offers free technical support to anyone who wants to put a turbo system in an Insight.  "I know exactly how to do it.  I can talk them through the process." There is also an exhaust system modification that helps the turbo performance. 

Willie reinforces the point that the cars still gets good mileage when driven for mileage.  "We didn't destroy that.  You don't have to get on turbo.  It's just when you need that extra passing power, you have it with the turbo.  Also, Jack's car was tested for emissions in California, and it is cleaner than a stock Honda Insight."

Jack's has the Rostra Global Cruise Control on his car.  "They have one specific for the Insight." Willie does not have cruise. 


Report #18: Photos - Turbo Insights

Photographs from the Tour de Sol:

	http://www.AutoAuditorium.com/TdS_Reports_2006/photos_007.html

Turbo Insights

Some think the Honda Insight looks faster than it is.  By turbocharging them, appearance and reality align. 

Willie explains his modifications. 

A closer view. 

Jack discusses his variation on the theme. 

Jack's modifications. 

An important part of the Tour de Sol is the exchange of ideas between the participants. 


Report #19: Exhibitor Profile: Solaqua

There were a number of exhibitors at the Tour's press event on Thursday, and this one certainly drew some attention. 

Jody Rael was there to explain with something that looked like a car stereo freak's fantasy that was providing public address sound for the press event.  On the side it says:

        Solaqua:  Bringing Art to Power and Power to Art

"This is the solar powered GEM car from Solaqua Power and Art.  Solaqua: Sun and Water.  We are proposing to convert a paper mill in Chatham New York into an industrial art center that runs on sunlight and water.  The electricity will be generated by solar power and hydro and that will be used to make hydrogen for furnaces, glass blowing and a small foundry."

Is hydrogen common in glass blowing? "No.  It is sort of the elite of the gases because it is so very hot and clean."

The vehicle is a two seat GEM with a large fiberglass box on the back.  The large side doors on the side of the box are covered in about 600 Watts of solar cells, and they lift up to face the sky.  Inside on the driver's side is a wall-of-sound: a collection of Bose speakers that look ready to create a lot of sound.  "A 12 Volt car stereo powers it.  I've had solar powered public address systems since the early 1980s and this is version 8.  This is the community outreach vehicle for Solaqua Power and Art.  We are a not-for-profit trying to bring energy information to the community, making it fun for kids and families.  The Art Space real estate group in Minneapolis is doing the feasibility studies and get this off the ground.  I think we could be up and running in 3 to 5 years."

"We are also doing solar photovoltaics and solar hot water systems installations, both residential and commercial. 

"We are getting into soy polyicyene foam insulation.  The first generation of foam insulations were polyurathane, that made cyanide when they burned.  Polyicyene foam is much more inert which they are now making with soy oil instead of petroleum.  It is almost entirely an organic, renewable product."

                http://SolAqua.org


Report #20: Photos - Solaqua Sound GEM

Photographs from the Tour de Sol:

	http://www.AutoAuditorium.com/TdS_Reports_2006/photos_008.html

Solaqua Sound GEM

Yet another take on the idea of Sound on Wheels. 

This looks like a car stereo nut's fantasy or a boomboxphobe's nightmare. 

The circular disk in the center is one of those discharge displays (is Seven-of-Nine here?) and the rectangle is an LED light organ. 


Report #21: Exhibitor Profile: Starfire Systems

Chad Rittershausen rode into the exhibit area on a 2001 Ducati Monster, painted up with Starfire Systems and Starblade.  I asked what this was all about.  "I do the riding of this bike, to test our Starblade product."

"Starblade is the name of the ceramic rotors in the disc brakes on this bike.  The ceramic brakes are about 1/3 the weight of a typical motorcycle rotor.  The brakes on the Chevy Tahoe behind us are about 1/3 the weight of the cast iron original equipment.  On the Tahoe, that saves 20 pounds of unsprung weight a corner. 

"On the motorcycle, the reduced weight makes it more nimble.  The gyroscopic forces on the tires are much less.  Racers and normal street riders find that leaning the bike becomes less effort and produces less fatigue.  And the braking performance exceeds the original equipment. 

"The brake rotor is a composite ceramic part.  The ceramic polymer part is a liquid at room temperature.  It is fired in a kiln to turn it into an amorphous silicon carbide.  The fabric reinforcement in the part is a traditional carbon fiber, such as found in sporting equipment.  The result is a very hard, very durable ceramic. 

"When braking, the brake pad, pressing against the spinning rotor, creates what is called a `transfer film' that coats the surface of the rotor.  The adhesion of the transfer film to the rotor is what does the braking.  That is why you replace brake pads more often than rotors, because they are constantly transferring this film.  The wear on our rotors gives us 2 to 3 times the life of cast iron which cuts down on maintenance.  Because the rotors are harder and don't wear as much, we can use a much more aggressive pad, which shortens stopping distance." In fact, they have `negative fade'.  As they get hotter they grab the rotor a little bit more. 

Do I need a special caliper? "No.  We use the standard caliper that comes on the bike."

"The motorcycle rotors are sold through a distributor in California, BrakeTech."

The Chevy Tahoe is a test vehicle for a project with NYSERDA, the New York State Environmental Research and Development Authority.  "We are showing the viability of this technology on larger vehicles, up to a city bus."

                http://www.StarfireSystems.com


Report #22: Photos - Starfire Systems

Photographs from the Tour de Sol:

	http://www.AutoAuditorium.com/TdS_Reports_2006/photos_009.html

Starfire Systems

Starblade ceramic brake rotors claim superior performance with reduced weight. 

A Ducati Monster motorcycle used as the Starblade test vehicle. 

The Chevy Tahoe, also used in testing. 

Comparing the cast iron to the ceramic brake rotor.  Note that the iron rotor has cooling voids, where the ceramic rotor is solid. 


Report #23: Exhibitor Profile: Roosevelt Island Hybrid Transit Bus

Edwin Dominguez is a bus operator for the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation which runs 9 city transit buses on the island community between Manhattan and Queens.  Last February they took delivery of four Orion 7 diesel- electric buses.  "It is powered by a small Cummins engine, which drives a generator that charges the batteries on the roof.  One electric motor then drives the bus."

The bus is 40 feet long, seats 42 people, and stands 30.  "But sometimes we get about 80 people in the bus."

"When I drive it, it is very quiet, very comfortable, and very smooth." The driver's have a Recaro seat.  "The climate control is great.  In many ways it is like a regular diesel bus, but more efficient.  The riders are very interested in the technology.  `Is this all electric?' `Do you plug it in?'"

At this point Paul Chilkotowsky joined the conversation.  "There is a battery conditioner that can be used to charge the batteries." He is with Daimler- Chrysler Commercial Buses North America at Orion Bus.  BAE Systems is the other partner in this enterprise.  They provide the series hybrid propulsion system.  There is no transmission.  The electric traction motor directly drives the rear wheels through the differential. 

Buddy Sadar is the technician for the bus.  "This is improving our fuel consumption and reducing emissions." The fuel economy on the bus is about 8 miles per gallon.  On the regular bus they get about 5 or 4.  "And engine maintenance is easier.  We also save on oil changes."

On Manhattan island, the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) has 325 Orion hybrids of various vintages, and they expect another 500 Orion 7s. 


Report #24: Photos - Roosevelt Island Hybrid Transit Bus

Photographs from the Tour de Sol:

	http://www.AutoAuditorium.com/TdS_Reports_2006/photos_010.html

Roosevelt Island Hybrid Transit Bus

This was easily the biggest hybrid at the Tour de Sol this year. 

The hybrid buses in service on Roosevelt Island are low-floor, kneeling and wheelchair ramp equipped.  The box on the roof holds the batteries. 

It still looks cramped, but the word is these buses are easier to work on. 

The view inside, looking to the rear. 


Report #25: Team Profile: Electrovaya maya-200

The promise of Lithium Ion batteries in electric vehicles has been a long time coming to fruition, but Electrovaya has brought a battery-electric Smart car to the press event.  It uses their Lithium Ion SuperPolymer technology, mounted in in a 30 kiloWatt hour pack under the floor, to drive the vehicle. 

Sankar Das Gupta is the President and CEO of Electrovaya in Ontario Canada.  He brought me up to date with their news.  "We have developed this car for the Norwegian market.  Norway has the most progressive zero-emission vehicle regulations on the planet."

The base vehicle is a Smart fortwo.  "It is a zippy little car that should deliver 300 kilometers.  It accelerates like mad.  Highway driving is not a problem.  It's a great car. 

"The market launch was in Norway in October 2005.  It is just now going on sale in Norway in conjunction with Miljobil Grenland and the Norsk Hydro Group.  This particular model is _not_ for sale in the US, but it is in Canada.  Our focus, however is on Norway. 

If I remember correctly, when the Smart car was introduced in Europe there was talk of an EV version and a claim that it would be easy to adapt to pure- electric drive.  "They had left quite a bit of room below the floor for the battery.  But we needed to add a motor, motor controller and on-board charger," which required some fitting. 

"Our initial production will be in Toronto, but our plans are to move it to Posgrunn in southern Norway."

        Emissions       None
        Transmission    Direct Drive
        Battery         30 kWh SuperPolymer
        Curb Weight     800 kg
        Range           up to 250 - 300 km
        Operating Costs 85% less than an internal combustion engine
        Top Speed       up to 120 km/h
        Motor           DC with 400 Nm

        No modifications to the chassis or passenger compartment. 


Report #26: Photos - Electrovaya maya-200

Photographs from the Tour de Sol:

	http://www.AutoAuditorium.com/TdS_Reports_2006/photos_011.html

Electrovaya maya-200

Soon to be seen on the roads of Norway ... 


Report #27: Monte Carlo Entrant: Hymotion

The idea of the plugin hybrid has gone from Wha? to Wow! in the past few months, even though we have seen variations on the theme as TdS entrants for some years.  What was once experimental is on the cusp of becoming commercial. 

Hymotion of Concord, Ontario Canada, has a modification to a Toyota Prius that sits below the cargo area in the rear.  Ricardo Dazzarella told me about the Plug-in Hybrid System, Toyota Prius L5 Lithium Power product.  "We install a kit that has a 5 kiloWatt-hour battery pack to supplement the original battery.  It should take less than two hours to install.  It is a drop-in system.  Everything is inside the box.  The battery level display on the Prius will show the Hymotion battery state of charge until the Hymotion battery is discharged.  Then the display shows the car's built-in battery state of charge. 

"We are seeing 30 miles (50 kilometers) of purely electric range at about 35 miles per hour." The engine kicks in if you go faster, but the battery contributes a lot.  When plugged in, an interlock prevents the vehicle from moving. 

"As I said, everything is inside the one box: the batteries, charger, battery monitoring, electronic control unit (the main brain of the module), a crash sensor and a safety switch when the module needs to be worked on.  It weighs 72 kilograms. 

"The battery is lithium ion.  We haven't disclosed our battery supplier yet.  We will do that very shortly. 

"We are selling these to governments, fleets and power companies.  We are doing a slow deployment to collect data in demonstration projects.  This summer we planning to collect data from a crash vehicle.  In 4 to 6 months we plan to begin selling to the early adopters who have put their names on our web site. 

"Our published price right now is $12,000, but we want to get the price down below $10,000 before we sell to the public. 

"Two vehicles are on the road doing testing.  We have 10 that will ship soon to our early industrial and governmental customers. 

"We will be selling through dealers trained in doing our installations."

I had not heard of this until the Tour.  "We started our company in June 2005.  We were running under the radar until we announced at the Detroit Auto Show in February."

A model for the Ford Escape Hybrid is also in the works.  Will there be one for the Hybrid Camry? "That is the next one."

                http://www.Hymotion.com


Report #28: Photos - Hymotion

Photographs from the Tour de Sol:

	http://www.AutoAuditorium.com/TdS_Reports_2006/photos_012.html

Hymotion

Can a Prius be turned into a Plug-In Prius in two hours?

It just might be possible. 

The all-in-one unit fits neatly in the spare tire well and storage area under the rear deck cover. 


Report #29: Team Profile: Sunpacer

The Sunpacer is _the_ solar electric car from Cato-Meridian High School in Cato New York.  I asked student T. K. Hayden to tell me about it. 

"This is it's fourteenth Tour de Sol.  It started in 1992." Where you alive in '92? "I was 2.  It has gone through a lot of changes.  It has low drag front wheels and suspension.  It started with big, bulky, heavy solar panels in the back and huge lead-oxide batteries.  Over time we have refined it and made it better.  Now we use model kit solar panels (like those used in the Junior Solar Sprint cars) which saved a tone of weight over the old ones.  We have some of the old panels that we use for additional charging." They set them up next to the vehicle when it is parked.  "We now have Ovonic nickel metal hydride batteries in a 56 Volt pack. 

"This year we got a new driver's seat.  We made it ourself.  Matt Tucker is about 6 foot 6 and didn't fit in very well, so we made this one adjustable.  Tucker is the only one with both his license and his motorcycle permit.  The rest of us only have our permit. 

"We also have a new battery system.  We had 8 batteries last year, but had a partial thermal runaway.  Now we only have 4 batteries, which dropped some weight. 

"Our display board tells the story of the car.  Solar cells and how they work.  Our sponsors are recognized.  Then we go through the car, from the beginning: frame, suspension, hydraulic brake system, the wheels, tires, everything. 

"We took the side off so you can look in.  The interior is very open, very available, and easy to work on."


Report #30: Photos - Sunpacer

Photographs from the Tour de Sol:

	http://www.AutoAuditorium.com/TdS_Reports_2006/photos_013.html

Sunpacer

This has been a vehicle with staying power, in the Tour de Sol since 1992. 

I just noticed the overhead rear view mirror, mounted top-center on the windshield. 

Opened up for service.  Notice that the older solar panels can be stored below the back array.  A Tour de Sol rule allows solar vehicles to use extra panels for charging when stopped provided they are carried by the vehicle during the event. 

If you've built a Junior Solar Sprint car, you might recognize these solar cells. 

Here you can see the sort of stress the wheels are subjected to during the "cone test" that evaluates the vehicle's handling. 


Report #31: Team Profile: Zodiac

The West Irondequoit Solar Car Team has been bringing Zodiac to the Tour since 2000.  The Zodiac and Sunpacer to a large extent compete head-to-head.  They are both 3-wheeled, light, single-person, solar-electric vehicles.  (But this may be the last year that happens.  See below.)

Sean Harriman listed this year's improvements.  "We have new gel-cell batteries in our 60 Volt, 10 block pack.  We went down a size.  They are more compact.  And it's a gel form so there is less leakage, so there is less electricity leaking to the frame. 

"The motor is the same, but we changed the gear ratio to give us more torque."

They spend a month or so before the Tour we prep and ready the car.  But most of the time they work on the Mini Cooper. 

"Mini Cooper project has been going on for about 2 years.  We built the frame and we are building the body now.  We plan to make it into another solar electric car."

This is not a restoration.  They designed and built the frame from scratch.  They are currently making a mold off an original Mini Cooper body, but then we they will make their own body out of fiberglass. 

"The suspension is from a Mazda Miata.  It would have taken too much time to figure out the suspension ourselves.  The frame is mostly complete.  We the seats in and the brake systems are done. 

"We have about 15 people on the team.  Meetings are every Monday night, 6 to 8:30 and about 7 people show up.  We just work on the car. 

"We have funding from many organizations.  All of our sponsors are listed at our website."

                        http://www.IHSTechTeam.com


Report #32: Photos - Zodiac

Photographs from the Tour de Sol:

	http://www.AutoAuditorium.com/TdS_Reports_2006/photos_014.html

Zodiac

Zodiac is ready to start the hill-climb test.  The little window below the Peak Performance logo lets the driver see the nose of the car and the road immediately in front of it. 

The motor is mounted directly above the rear wheel, driven by a chain. 

With the side off you can see some of the batteries (with the yellow tops). 

The solar teams are particularly popular when the students visit, especially if they have been to the Junior Solar Sprints. 


Report #33: Team Profile: rEVolutionride

This Volkswagen Vanagon Syncro was turned into a battery-electric van in 2002 by the students on North Haven Island off the coast of Maine.  It has been in daily service since then, meeting the boat and driving around the island. 

I asked Natalie Jones, Ben Lovell and Ian Hopkins what has been done to it recently. 

"We made it a completely green vehicle.  It now charges off the solar panels on the roof of our school, North Haven Community School.  The PV array on the school is 5.2 kiloWatts, which is enough to completely recharge this vehicle.  When not recharging the van, the power is fed into the electric grid under a net-metering arrangement.  If the power goes out on the island, the PV array can run through the emergency panel to keep the telephones, computer server, and some other things."

The cost of electricity on the island is 30 cents per kiloWatt-hour. 

"The put in a new cable under the ocean from the mainland.  They buried it this time.  The old cables were just laying on the bottom and would get damaged.  That should improve reliability.  They also added a fiber optic cable to bring cable TV to the island."

"Last year we installed new batteries.  Plus we added two additional batteries, upping the voltage to 120 Volts."

They also make their own biodiesel fuel.  "We have a generator that we have been running off biodiesel.  We are in the process of converting it to run WVO (Waste Vegetable Oil).  We brought our own biodiesel generator with us to the Tour and all our tools have been running off of that."

Natalie and her friend Amelia Campbell were the ones responsible for putting in an extra two batteries into the van.  "We wanted to change from 108 Volts to 120 Volts, for more power during the Tour for more range, and it really helped on the hill climb.  On island we only need 108 Volts to get around.  So we installed two more 6 Volt batteries and connected it to the main battery system that is under the bench seats.  So we made the extra battery box, epoxied it, painted it, and over the past week we added all the extra wiring. 

"We also put the sparkles on.  Amelia and I are the only girls on the team right now, and we like sparkles, but the guys didn't really like that.  So they agreed that we could put sparkles inside the box but had to leave the outside black.  When they take the batteries out next time ..."


Report #34: Photos - rEVolutionride

Photographs from the Tour de Sol:

	http://www.AutoAuditorium.com/TdS_Reports_2006/photos_015.html

rEVolutionride

When electricity is 30 cents a kiloWatt-hour and gasoline even more expensive on your island, what do you do? You run your van on sunlight!

Notice the small solar panel on the roof.  The bulk of the solar recharging current comes from the 5.2 kiloWatt panel on the school's roof. 

Putting the batteries under the bench seats makes lots of sense.  The weight is closer to the center of gravity of the vehicle, and yet getting to and working on the batteries is simple. 

Here is the extra battery box, with its two extra batteries and a secret feminine touch.  This too is easy to get at. 

The co-conspirators. 


Report #35: Photos - Green Grand Prix June 2, 2006

Photographs from the Tour de Sol:

	http://www.AutoAuditorium.com/TdS_Reports_2006/photos_016.html

Green Grand Prix June 2, 2006

This is not part of the Tour de Sol, but is co-sponsored by NESEA.  The photo of the poster tells the story, and the details are at

	http://glenspeed.com/2006_greengrandprix.html

The Second Annual Green Grand Prix will be held in Watkins Glen, NY on June 2, 2006. The Green Grand Prix features a road rally of Hybrid and Alternative Fueled Vehicles (AFV) held on an 84-mile course following the perimeter of beautiful Seneca Lake in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York. The road rally will bring together Hybrid and AFV owners for a fun and exciting educational event emphasizing fuel economy.  By holding The Green Grand Prix rally the same weekend as the Watkins Glen Indy Grand Prix; we hope to increase public awareness of environmentally friendly vehicles and to offer another activity for visitors coming to the area for the race. 


Report #36: Team Profile: Viking32

Western Washington University has a long standing Vehicle Research Institute that keeps cranking out interesting takes on the concept of "vehicle".  And even when we have seen a vehicle like Viking32 before, it keeps becoming something new.  It returns as a biomethane vehicle.  I spoke with Calvin Liu and Sean Aylward. 

Why biomethane? Natural gas, the fossil fuel, is methane (CH4), so they are taking methane created by biological processes and using it to fuel the car.  "Our biomethane is about 85% of the energy content of natural gas.  This gives us a little bit less power and range, but not that noticeable an amount."

The team brought canisters of fuel with them, created at WWU using diary farm manure.  "They have an anaerobic digester at the farm, and collect the gas for us.  We then filter the gas, taking out hydrogen sulfide and CO2, to purify it to just biomethane.  Ideally, it would be 100% biomethane, but "we didn't have the time to pump it up to 3600 pounds per square inch (psi) at the rate were able to filter it and with the type of pump we have.  With a better pump and more time we could get up to 3600 psi and have 90% biomethane." Because they couldn't, they brought fuel that is 50% biomethane and 50% Compressed Natural Gas (CNG). 

"Normally the methane would just be vented to the atmosphere.  Instead we use it in the car." The resulting exhaust is mostly CO2.  This also helps with the problem of manure runoff. 

What's new with the car? "We have doubled the power in the battery pack.  It was originally designed for that, and now we have finally found a way to put them in.  We now have 5.3 kiloWatt-hours on board.  We hope to see 70 miles of electric range.  The methane tank is 770 standard cubic feet.  With the tank and electrics together should be around 250 to 300 miles."

Last year they had problems that shut them down.  "We had a Honda Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) that had problems with the clutch.  We thought we had figured it out but it took us a while to really understand it." Dealers don't repair CVTs; they ship them to Honda.  "We couldn't get any help from them."


Report #37: Photos - Viking32

Photographs from the Tour de Sol:

	http://www.AutoAuditorium.com/TdS_Reports_2006/photos_017.html

Viking32

Another in the long line of Viking research vehicles from Western Washington University. 

Starting up the hill climb. 

Explaining the biomethane filtering process to the press. 

The fuel tank and engine are seen in the rear.  The engine drives the rear wheels.  The electric drive is on the front wheels. 

The parallel lines are the tops of hexagonal carbon fiber tubing that is part of the crash energy absorbing system in the front of the car.  Note that the door is hinged at the rear. 


Report #38: Tour de Sol Winners Announced

from the NESEA press release ... 

                               The Tour De Sol,
                 America's #1 Green Car Show and Competition,
 Demonstrates How to Reduce Oil Use and Climate Change Emissions By Over 100%

                         Tour de Sol Winners Announced

GREENFIELD, MA -- May 14, 2006 --

The results are in - and over 50 light duty vehicles competing in the Tour de Sol, America's #1 green car show and competition "driving toward zero carbon emissions" demonstrated their ability of reducing oil use and climate change emissions by over 100%, compared to conventional vehicles that achieve the 27 Miles Per Gallon (MPG) CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) standard for light duty vehicles. 

Held May 10-14 at the Saratoga Spa State Park and Saratoga Automobile Museum in Saratoga Springs, NY, the Tour de Sol featured entrants in three separate competitions who turned in spectacular results and took home trophies and $10,000 in cash prizes.  Using many energy efficiency techniques, and in some cases switching to less carbon intensive fuels such as compressed natural gas, biodiesel, vegetable oil, or electricity and hydrogen from clean renewable sources, the entrants demonstrated an average of 66 MPG, 140% above the current CAFE standard, and reductions in climate change emissions of 130%. 

Wayne Gerdes of Illinois, West Philadelphia High School of Philadelphia, PA, Greasecar Vegetable Fuel System, of Easthampton, MA, Burlington County Electecs of Lawrenceville, NJ and Optibike of Bolder, CO took top honors. 

"For auto enthusiasts and environmentalists these are tremendously exciting results," said Nancy Hazard of the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association (NESEA), organizer of the Tour de Sol.  "This demonstrates what is possible today and that we can do even better in the near future.  We must work together and continue to develop vehicles that aim to cut oil use and climate change emissions to zero."

"We have been very impressed with the innovative technologies demonstrated by the vehicles participating in the Tour de Sol," said Peter R. Smith, President and CEO of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, premier sponsor of the event.  "NYSERDA is pleased to have brought the Tour de Sol to New York State to showcase how we can lessen our dependence on foreign energy sources, and control our own energy destiny."

In the Monte Carlo style Rally, Gerdes drove a stock Insight from Chicago on a single tank of gas achieving 90.4 MPG and captured the grand prize of the Monte Carlo-style fuel efficiency Championship.  Two other interesting independent teams, Jack Lee from Venice, FL and Willy Williford from Campo, CA, had added TurboChargers to their Honda Insights, which have a 57 MPG EPA rating.  Jack Lee's vehicle demonstrated over 76 MPG. 

Perhaps the most interesting entry in the Monte Carlo Rally was a modified Honda Insight employing Plug-In charging and Integrated Motor Assist, and a 5th wheel powered by an electric motor for faster electric startup.  This unique vehicle, driven by Mike Dabrowski of North Grosvenordale, CT. achieved an overall performance of 82.49 MPG and took 3 awards, including the top "Plug-In Hybrid" Award. 

Additionally, HyMotion, from Concord, Ontario, Canada, showed one of the most interesting commercial options that could take hybrid technology to the next level.  HyMotion's PHEV (Plug-in Hybrid Vehicle) kit is designed to convert a Toyota Prius or Ford Hybrid Escape into a hybrid vehicle that can drive in electric-only mode for 20 miles, and plug into an electrical outlet for recharging.  The advantage of such a vehicle is that, in normal use where daily driving is often between 20-40 miles, it could reduce gasoline use by 50 to 80%, and shift its motive energy to electricity from the Grid that can be produced by zero-carbon renewable energy sources such as wind and solar. 

In the alternative fuel division of the Monte Carlo-style Rally, Homeland Energy Resources Development drove a Honda GX that runs on compressed natural gas and has been cited as the "cleanest car on earth." Greasecar Vegetable Fuel Systems entered an Austin Mini Clubman converted with their kit to run on 100% vegetable oil.  Eastern Biofuels, the largest biodiesel supplier in the Northeast, refueled the biodiesel-powered vehicles.  The Gavin Watson team received a cash prize from the National Biodiesel Board for taking first place in this division with a 1973 Porsche 914 powered by 100% soybean oil that got 53 MPG and reduced climate change emissions by 87% compared to a conventional 27-MPG vehicle. 

"We were thrilled with these performances," said Jim Dunn, CEO of the Center for Technology Commercialization, Monte Carlo-style Rally sponsor.  "Over twenty teams entered conventional hybrid cars and demonstrated their ability to exceed the EPA MPG standards in every case - and the modified hybrids turned in spectacular results."

Sixteen teams entered the Tour de Sol Championship this year.  This competition challenges entrants to build one-of-a-kind highway-worthy vehicles that aim to reduce oil use and climate change emissions to zero.  West Philadelphia High School took top honors in the student Hybrid and Alternative fuel division.  Their purpose-built sports car that can accelerate from 0 to 60 in 5.5 seconds achieved a fuel efficiency of 55 MPG.  The Greasecar Mad Mini team carried the day in the independent division with Mini Cooper Clubman with Greasecar Vegetable Fuel System kit installed so that it could run on 100% vegetable oil. 

In the battery electric division, EVermont, from Waterbury, VT demonstrated incredible fuel efficiency of electric vehicles with over 160 MPGe (Miles Per Gallon equivalent), while the Burlington Electecs of Lawrenceville, NJ took top honors with a student-built electric vehicle.  In the Solar-Assisted electric division, the West Irondequoit took top honors in the one-person category, and St. Mark's School, Southborough, MA, took top honors in the two-person category.  St. Mark's and the North Haven Community School from North Haven, ME, tied for the "Renewablity Prize," demonstrating zero climate change emissions.  St. Marks purchased green electricity from their local utility to run their car, while North Haven added solar panels to their school to generate electricity to run their car. 

Another unique team, which traveled from Delhi College of Engineering in Delhi India to the Tour de Sol, showcased a one-person hybrid vehicle.  Their vehicle demonstrated the importance of designing a vehicle to suit its use.  This vehicle was designed to address the transportation needs of millions of people in India that presently use highly polluting motorcycles by presenting them with a practical, very efficient hybrid option. 

"We saw lots of innovative ideas in these one-of-a-kind vehicles that students and independent teams brought this year," said Dr. Robert Wills, technical director of the Tour de Sol Championship.  "As in the past, we hope to see many of these technologies on the showroom floor in the near future - helping to clean the air we breathe and reduce carbon emission."

The new Around Town Vehicle Competition grew to eleven entries this year.  This competition challenges entrants to design motorized vehicles that could replace the conventional car in our communities with zero carbon emission vehicles. 

In the production division both Optibike and RunAbout Cycles attracted much attention.  Optibike, of Bolder, CO, demonstrated an amazing range of 104 miles in less than four hours on its electric bicycle, Optibike 400, which uses lithium batteries.  In the independent and student divisions there were four entries using lithium batteries and two using lead acid batteries. 

In the neighborhood electric vehicle division, competition was fierce with three GEMs entered - one from the Southern Berkshire Regional School, Sheffield, MA and two from the Saratoga Spa State Park, Saratoga Springs, NY.  All of the vehicles drove over 20 miles with conventional lead acid batteries and received a cash prize from the Advanced Lead Acid Battery Consortium for their achievements.  The Berkshire school also brought an amazing educational trailer with wind and solar demonstrations.  Lastly Newburgh Free Academy, New Windsor, NY, entered several interesting non-road vehicles. 

"We were thrilled to see the Around Town Vehicle Competition grow this year," said Paul O'Brien of the Southern Berkshire Regional School District, creator of the new NEV competition rules.  "This kind of a project is affordable and a great teaching tool.  It involves research, problem solving, teamwork, computer and hands-on experience, and it creates awareness about our energy and environmental challenges and possible solutions in the transportation sector. 

Premier sponsors of the 2006 Tour de Sol were the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and the Center for Technology Commercialization.  Additional key sponsors included the New York Power Authority, the Saratoga Automobile Museum, Stewart's Shops, New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation, Eastern Biofuels, New York Department of Environmental Conservation, Toyota, the UK Trade & Investment, Honda, Kurkoski Solar Electric, Westboro Toyota, the U.S.  Environmental Protection Agency, E-The Environmental Magazine, EIN Publishing, and GreenBiz.com. 

The Northeast Sustainable Energy Association, organizer of the Tour de Sol, is the Northeast's leading organization of professionals and concerned citizens working in sustainable energy, and whole systems thinking.  NESEA facilitates the widespread adoption and use of sustainable energy by providing support to industry professionals and by educating and motivating consumers to learn about, ask for and adopt sustainable-energy and green-building practices.  NESEA accomplishes this through conferences, K-12 educational resources, its members and chapters, its Sustainable Yellow Pages, and public events. 

To find out more about the Tour de Sol:

	 http://www.TourdeSol.org

Photographs Available On Request

Organizer

	Northeast Sustainable Energy Association

Premier Sponsors

	New York State Energy Research and Development Authority
	Center for Technology Commercialization

Event-Site Hosts

	Saratoga Spa State Park
	Saratoga Automobile Museum


Report #39: More Reports Coming

The Winners have been announced, but the Reports have not ended.  There are several more hours of interviews and lot of pictures coming.  Stay tuned. 


Report #40: Exhibitor Profile: Miles ZX40

Kevin Kiley is the President of the Miles Automotive Group (MilesAutomotive.com) had white 4-door EV on display at the press event.  "It is a low speed, Neighborhood Electric Vehicle (NEV).  The top speed allowed by NHTSA Standard 500 is 25 Miles Per Hour.  They are currently legal in 47 states.  They can be licensed and driven on roads with a posted speed limit of 35 MPH or less.  We import them from China as you see it. 

"The car is offered as both a 2-seat and 4-seat model.  It is all steel, using reinforced steel construction.  It is manufactured as an electric vehicle with 4 sealed, deep cycle, glass mat, lead acid batteries; two in the front (under the hood) and two in the rear." These are very big 12 Volt battery blocks.  "They weigh 117 pounds each.  So it is a 48 Volt system.  There is a DC-DC converter for the 12 Volt loads and a Curtis 1204-404 controller that drives the front-wheel drive brushed DC electric motor.  The range is approximately 40 miles per charge, and the intelligent charger will recharge over night from either 110 or 220 Volts AC. 

I noticed a PulseTech PowerPulse Battery Maintenance box on the firewall of the motor compartment.  "It is a battery life extender.  It sends a deep cycle charge into the batteries and cleans them.  Lead acid batteries build up deposits over time, but the PowerPulse extends the battery life by as much as 50 percent."

The car has been in development for about two years.  "The car has been on the market for 6 months and we have sold about 60 cars to military bases, college campuses, utilities, prison systems; primarily fleets.  The car can be registered and titled as street legal," although you wouldn't want to take it out on the Interstate. 

The unit price of a ZX40 is $14,800, plus options. 

"We think we have a very good market in those customers.  Down the road we have several other models under development.  The ZX70, to be introduced in June, uses the same platform with a more powerful motor and controller and two more batteries, and the range increases to 60 miles per charge, and the speed to 35 MPH.  That will be for off-road use only because our research tells us there are a lot of fleet customers who don't intend to register cars that they don't use on the roads.  But they would like something with a bit more power and range."

In late 2007 they hope to introduce the XS200 All Electric Vehicle powered by breakthrough Chinese Lithium-Ion technology, promising an anticipated speed of up to 80 miles per hour and a range of 200 miles.  Projected MSRP: $28,500

 Onboard 110V (20 Amp) or 220V (15 Amp) Compatible Charger
 5 - 8 Hours Charge Time
 GVWR: 2491 lbs
 Maintenance-Free Advanced Sealed Lead Acid Battery
 2 Vinyl Seats
 41 cubic feet of Storage Space
 Heavy Steel Construction
 Side Impact Door Beams
 D.O.T. Certified 3-Point Seat Belts
 D.O.T. Certified Tires


Report #41: Photos - Miles Automotive ZX40

Photographs from the Tour de Sol:

	http://www.AutoAuditorium.com/TdS_Reports_2006/photos_018.html

Miles Automotive ZX40

A simple, practical battery electric vehicle for neighborhood and off-road use. 

Under the hood is not very crowded. 

The rear batteries hide below the floor. 

The interior looks comfortable. 

The roof luggage racks cost $175 extra. 


Report #42: Team Profile: The Attack

Of the vehicles that come to the Tour de Sol, one that always turns heads is the Attack from West Philadelphia High School.  It looks fast, cool, and sexy.  It also is black, although the message is green.  It was originally conceived as a biodiesel hybrid, but the electrics are not working so it is here just as a B100 car.  Originally the front wheels were going to be driven by an electric system and the rear by the biodiesel engine, but the electric system has been removed. 

Tyson Drummond gave me the story.  "We had problems with the controller and the batteries.  It really wasn't looking right.  So we took it out because it was too time consuming. 

And what is different on the biodiesel side? "We have bigger injectors, and we had to change the fuel lines again.  The ones we used last time were just like regular fuel lines, and the biodiesel was eating through them.  The ones we have now are biodiesel rated. 

"And we had to fix the axle again.  Last year the shaft for the axle was too short.  We had the measurements wrong." So it was always under stress.  "Then we had made the correct measurements but the sleeve for the weld was weak.  The sleeve for the weld is stronger now."

The West Philly team created a great deal of buzz with their car and their performance in last year's Tour de Sol.  "The team was always confident about their work but this year they are more confident because they know what to expect." And the Philadelphia media has been paying attention.  "They visited our school several times."

Tyson has been member of the team for three years and now is a senior.  "My plans after school is to go to ATC (Automotive Training Center) in Warminster PA.  I want to continue working with alternative fuels."

But after he and the other seniors move on, the team will reshuffle.  "The co- captain will become captain and someone from the 10th grade will become junior captain." Other team members at the Tour are Jesse Jones, Tyshem Lovett, Joseph Pak, David Epps, Kosi Harmon, Bruce Harmon, Christopher Newell, Jeffrey Daniels, and Calvin Cheeseboro. 


Report #43: Photos - Attack

Photographs from the Tour de Sol:

	http://www.AutoAuditorium.com/TdS_Reports_2006/photos_019.html

Attack

This sharp looking car is the latest in a long line of Tour de Sol entries. 

Definitely a car that turns heads. 

The original plan was to have the front wheels driven by the electric half of the hybrid.  Maybe next year. 

The B100 biodiesel engine drives the rear wheels. 

On display at the Saratoga Automobile Museum's Spring Auto Show. 


Report #44: The Detailed Results

  The Results Are In!

View the results of the 2006 Tour de Sol competitions by reading the PDF files listed below.  You will need either Adobe Acrobat or another PDF viewer to view these files. 

Around Town Results

 http://www.AutoAuditorium.com/TdS_Reports_2006/2006TdSAroundTownResults.pdf

Monte Carlo Rally Results

 http://www.AutoAuditorium.com/TdS_Reports_2006/2006TdS_Monte_Carlo_Results.pdf

Tour de Sol Entrant List

 http://www.AutoAuditorium.com/TdS_Reports_2006/2006_TdS_Champ_Entrant_list.pdf

Tour de Sol Championship Results

 http://www.AutoAuditorium.com/TdS_Reports_2006/2006TdsChampionshipResults.pdf

Tour de Sol Championship Awards

 http://www.AutoAuditorium.com/TdS_Reports_2006/2006_TdS_Champ_Awards.pdf

Tour de Sol Championship Summary

 http://www.AutoAuditorium.com/TdS_Reports_2006/2006TdsChampSummary.pdf

Tour de Sol Championship - Hill Climb Data

 http://www.AutoAuditorium.com/TdS_Reports_2006/2006TdsChampHillClimbDATA.pdf

Tour de Sol Championship - Acceleration Data

 http://www.AutoAuditorium.com/TdS_Reports_2006/2006TdsChampAccelDATA.pdf

Tour de Sol Championship - Autocross Data

 http://www.AutoAuditorium.com/TdS_Reports_2006/2006TdsChampAuotcrossDATA.pdf

Tour de Sol Championship - Climate Change Data

 http://www.AutoAuditorium.com/TdS_Reports_2006/2006TdsChampClimateChangeDATA.pdf

Tour de Sol Championship - Efficiency Data

 http://www.AutoAuditorium.com/TdS_Reports_2006/2006TdsChampEfficiencyDATA.pdf

Tour de Sol Championship - Range Data

 http://www.AutoAuditorium.com/TdS_Reports_2006/2006TdsChampRangeDATA.pdf

There are more Reports to come.  Stay tuned. 


Report #45: 2006 Bradford Teacher Award Recipient: Paul O'Brien

Each year the NESEA presents an award in memory of long-time Tour de Sol participant, organizer and teacher George Bradford.  This year it was given to Paul O'Brien who for many years brought the Project e- ("E minus") team from the Mount Everett Regional School in Sheffield Massachusetts to the Tour.  He has not been at the Tour in recent years, but he and his students have returned. 

        Paul O'Brien got hooked on teaching over 30 years ago - and got
        involved in the Tour de Sol in the early 1990's.  He worked with his
        students on several innovative entries, including the first fuel cell
        entry -- a trike -- in 1998.  In spite of the fact that he is now a
        school administrator, he still works with a group of students on an EV
        project.  This year, he has worked with NESEA to create a new
        competition for Neighborhood Electric Vehicles (NEV), which will be
        part of our Around Town Vehicle Competition.  It will challenge high
        school students to install solar panels on a NEV and learn how solar
        power can help meet the energy needs of the vehicle. 

I renewed my acquaintance with Paul and asked what has he been up to.  He is an administrator now; he has hung up the chalk!

"I have.  The administrative position of Technology Director came along and I jumped into it.  Just recently I've come back into the Tour de Sol and bringing kids along with me.  It is funny because I sit at a desk all day long, push things along and make things work, so the interactions with students are limited.  This opportunity to get back with kids made a big difference for me.  I'm questioning whether I want to stay as an administrator or go back to teaching.  The action is where the kids are."

The Mount Everett team had two things with them.  One is a GEM NEV used as a student project and competing in Around Town Vehicle competition.  The other is a trailer that demonstrates many forms and sources of alternative energy. 

"Let's talk about the trailer.  The Vreeland Institute is a non-profit organization promoting alternative energy; alternative fuels, solar, wind and fuel cells.  The trailer is a traveling exhibit of all those technologies.  The trailer will be at the Tour de Sol each year, at Earth Day and school events, and it will be a research lab on our campus.  It will be a semi-permanent display on our campus where high school kids can do research projects on alternative energy.  We also use it as a charging station for the GEM.  The two working together, the trailer and the GEM, got me back hooked back in. 

        http://www.sbrsd.org/e3/projecte3.htm

"Our neighborhood electric vehicle is a 25 mile per hour with a 25 mile range.  We added solar panels and a sound system as a first phase.  We'll look into different batteries and different motors and better solar panels.  It will be another platform for high school kids to get engaged with this, and for me to enjoy working with high school kids again.  I'm remembering what that passion is really about." The GEM is also used by the athletic department and maintenance guys around the campus. 

Getting it registered by the state was a bit of an exercise.  "It took six weeks to get the attention of the Registry of Motor Vehicles."

Other aspects of the project were much easier.  "When the newspaper did a story about getting back into electric vehicles, I got flooded with people saying, `We remember what it was like, and what you did with kids.  Can we be in on this?'" That happened without soliciting.  They raised money and got the vehicle.  "Our area loves it.  Today we are on the front page of the Berkshire Eagle with the sponsors names on the side."

Is this a class, a club, extra-curricular project? "That is great and important question for educators.  This issue of doing it as a club has been very hard.  It means after school or weekends.  When I did this full time as a teacher it was a course.  So next year I'm going to have one class where I will teach this.  It will probably be less than 10 students, and this is all we will do all year long.  It will merge math, science and technology, and social issues.  We did presentations for kindergarten kids where we showed them the trailer and took them for rides in the EV.  I was trying to make a point of what was going on with gasoline and wasn't getting through to them.  Finally I said, `Raise your hand if you heard your folks talking about the price of gasoline.' Every hand went up.  So they will be involved with this as time goes on. 

"In 1993, the first year we did the Tour de Sol, we were asked when we thought electric vehicles would be common.  I remember answering, `When gasoline is $5 a gallon.' 13 years later ..."

If you have read the Tour de Sol Report from 1997, you might have run across the story about the Project e-pickup truck going to the high school prom.  "The truck still exists.  We are looking for some sort of propulsion system.  We are not going to put lead acid batteries back in.  If the right thing comes along and someone wants to work with us we'd put it back on the road tomorrow."

(I later heard from Paul that the _reason_ the girl was asked to the prom in the electric truck was because she was a great welder!)


Report #46: Photos - Paul O'Brien

Photographs from the Tour de Sol:

	http://www.AutoAuditorium.com/TdS_Reports_2006/photos_020.html

Paul O'Brien

Paul O'Brien (center) is presented with the Tour de Sol's 2006 George Bradford Teacher Award by Nancy Hazard (left) and Jim Dunn. 


Report #47: H2Prius: Another eVermont Car

I ran into Harold Garabedian of eVermont next to the hydrogen-powered Prius that had just been delivered.  It took me a few moments to realize that this was an "ordinary" Prius that had been converted to burn hydrogen in the engine that normally used gasoline.  When I looked under the hood, it looked the same as every other Prius I've seen, at first glance.  "The hydrogen is delivered here.  The injectors were changed to handle gaseous fuel.  It's turbo charged."

The conversion was done in California by Quantum Technologies.  "The only thing that is different is that it has a compressed gas refueling port.  It's a smart system.  There is a data port that interacts with the refueler.  It takes 5,000 pounds per square-inch (PSI) hydrogen.  It carries 1.6 kilograms of hydrogen.  A kilogram of hydrogen is about equivalent to a gallon of gasoline, so the car has a nominal range of about 80 to 100 miles.  We built a PEM (Proton Exchange Membrane) electrolyzer, made by Proton Energy Systems, powered by a wind turbine" to create the hydrogen from water; the oxygen is vented to the air.  "So the vision of the project is `Wind to Wheels', to demonstrate sustainable transportation energy. 

"Nothing different up front, inside, or in the back" except for the pressure tank "but the car has no carbon emissions, and the energy comes from the wind.  And the point is that it is done today, with existing technology, as opposed to fuel cell cars which are at some point in the future, maybe."

So, when they evaluate this, what will the measures-of-merit be? "What we are looking for is vehicle performance comparable to the unconverted vehicle.  The other issues will be the ease of refueling, and efficiency.  We expect a slight efficiency gain, overall, in terms of the vehicle-engine system.  We need to document that.  Then we will evaluate system efficiency.  How efficient is it to extract wind energy, convert that to hydrogen, compress it, put it into a car and then drive it? It will be placed in daily routine service to demonstrate practicality.  It will be at the Burlington Vermont Department of Public Works.  They will use it for job-related duties around town. 

If you didn't have the signage on the car, you wouldn't know it was a hydrogen car except, "it is a tad quieter, because the hydrogen combustion process is not a noisy as gasoline." And I'm told that the exhuast smells "clean."

While talking with Harold and the other eVermonters, I discovered that I had the wrong idea of what eVermont was.  "It is not a state agency.  It's origin was a public-private partnership where state government had a prominent role getting it organized.  Governor Dean, back in 1993, was behind it.  It was in reaction to the auto industry saying, `if the northeast states adopt the California 2% (of cars sold must be zero emission) mandate, all those electric vehicles won't work in cold weather.'" Many thought that the engineering challenges were solvable, not to mention that Solectria and EV hobbiests seemed to be driving around the northeast.  "Rather than have a food fight, we said `let us look as this as the engineering problem that it is and let us show, in a public way, proof-of-concept solutions to the legitimate issues being raised.  We'll put before the public the technology and solutions.' So it started as state government, academics and private enterprises, partnering to get federal grants to do those demonstrations.  eVermont has morphed into a private, IRS 501(c)(3), not-for-profit organization, where the only tie to government is through the donation of some of a small percent of my time.  I'm employed by the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources.  eVermont stands on its own by doing projects of public significance.  It's mission is to influence public policy through the demonstration of technology.  It's leadership by example. 

"A project like these takes a vision and puts it before the public so that they get information that is not solely dependent on commercial interests.  The eVermont projects try to show the possibilities for clean air, sustainable energy and economic development through real world, day-to-day, on the road experiences. 

"The Evergreen electric car we saw earlier is part of a broader concept, namely that as a society we need to move away from transportation being thought of as personal property to `mobility service', much as you buy internet as a service. 

"eVermont has no employees.  It picks up contractors and technical support services only for specific projects."


Report #48: Demonstration: Honda FCX Fuel Cell Car

Lawrence D'Arco, who is with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, is here with Honda's hydrogen gas powered fuel cell car, the FCX.  (I presume that stands for something like Fuel Cell eXperimental). 

"We have two in the New York state fleet, that we lease from Honda.  There are twenty-two world wide.  They sent them to Albany because New York state is very progressive in terms of alternate fuel vehicles and because they wanted to run these in a cold-weather climate and see how they operate.  The hydrogen gas is fed into the fuel cell, which produces electricity, which runs the electric motor.  The only thing that comes out of the tail pipe is heat and water vapor.  When the vapor condenses it is clean enough to drink."

These cars are normal state motor pool vehicles, although not given to just any driver.  There is an orientation.  "The only difference is how you start it.  You turn the key and then you must wait about 10 seconds.  After that it is no different to drive than any other car.  What is different is that it is quieter, smoother, and has excellent acceleration."

We went for a ride.  After Lawrence turned the key, the dark dashboard display panel lit up with "Fuel Cell Powered", a couple of logos, "System Check" with a bar graph showing progress, and then the dashboard lit up with the usual dials.  That was the 10-second start-up.  "It may have been even less than 10 seconds since it has recently been driven."

Backing out of the parking spot, the FCX showed its EVishness by making no perceptible noise.  "The graph on the left, the blue bars, shows the electricity being produced by the fuel cell.  The yellow bars show the electricity coming from the ultra-capacitor (which takes the place of a battery pack).  "The ultra capacitor is used to keep up with sudden load changes, and takes in energy created by regenerative braking.  "The white bars below show the amount of recharging." There is a display, measured in miles, labelled "Distance To Empty", which read 100 miles when we started.  "And these blue bars indicate how much fuel is left.  It has this gasoline pump symbol on the gauge, but my pump station doesn't look like that."

As we drove, there were times when the energy use bars all showed zero; we were just coasting.  But when he punched the accelerator pedal, the car demonstrated strong, smooth acceleration.  The sound of acceleration is a quiet, smoothly rising pitch, without the jumps associated with gear changing because there is none.  The electric motor connects to the front wheels without a transmission. 

What has been the user reaction to the FCX? "I've not spoken to anyone who disliked driving this vehicle.  I've only heard good things about the smoothness, the responsiveness, the quietness, and the acceleration.  The one disadvantage is the range, about 160 miles. " The only hydrogen station is in Albany. 

"There is one family in California that has a fuel cell vehicle; the only one in the world.  All the others are leased by government entities." As you might expect, the car itself collects constant data, which Honda collects periodically.  "They were wondering who was driving the car at 85!"

"There is a lot of emphasis on hydrogen as the future, but there are a lot of hurdles.  To perfect this technology they have to bring down the cost, and create the hydrogen infrastructure.  If you had millions of vehicles with water coming out of their tail pipes it would be pretty awesome, especially compared to what we are doing now," but we should wonder what effect that might have. 


Report #49: Photos - Honda FCX

Photographs from the Tour de Sol:

	http://www.AutoAuditorium.com/TdS_Reports_2006/photos_021.html

Honda FCX

Last year the Honda FCX's were newly leased to New York State.  Now they have accumulated a year of experience. 

Honda's Fuel Cell powered FCX. 

Opened up for inspection.  Note the hole in the side view mirror; I wonder why?

Under the hood. 


Report #50: Interview: Drew Gillett

Drew, who hails from Bedford, New Hampshire, has been volunteering at the Tour de Sol since forever.  His steady-state job is to post the routes that the competition follows from place to place, or sometimes in winding closed loops, with colored laminated cards with arrows that point the way.  Having driven the routes, I can tell you that it is harder than it sounds and that Drew has developed techniques that can help keep you on course when you're trying to watch traffic and follow a map and read a milepost-by-milepost narrative. 

This year he did an analysis of the Toyota Prius entrants in the 2005 Monte Carlo-style rally and came up with some interesting results. 

"As I see it, the first Prius model is an honest 50 miles-per-gallon car.  The entrants varied in mileages from somewhere in the 40s to 70s, by typically right around 50."

"The newer Prius, from the same that same data, looks more like a 45 mile-per-gallon car.  Part of the reason for that is that they made improvements to get better mileage, but they also made it into a bigger car.  For example, it is now a 5 seat car with larger frontal area and more weight.  So its improved efficiencies were eaten up by it being a bigger, heavier car.  I'd say that it is an honest 45 miles-per-gallon car.  Some people are able to make it do really well.  We've seen some up into the 80s.  But overall I see a bigger car with lower mileage."

I asked Drew if part of what he was seeing could be the difference between drivers of the first Prius, with several years of driving experience, vs.  drivers of the newer Prius with considerably less experience?

"That is a good point.  One of things that made the newer Prius get less mileage was that they were driving, on average, faster.  You learn not to do that if you want good, high mileage. 

"We didn't have so many cars that we could say this is statistically significant to any great degree, but at the same time that was the general conclusion I came to.  I'll be very interested in seeing if we draw the same conclusion this year."

Can we say similar things about the Hondas?

"The Insight has been the same, year to year.  Every manual Insight is like every other; every automatic Insight is the same as every other also." So the comparison between model years doesn't change much. 

"What is really interesting are the folks who have put turbochargers and stuff like that on the Insight.  By increasing the engine horsepower and efficiency, they can run the car at 80 miles per hour with 50-to-60 miles per gallon."

Drew's wife Barbara drove their 2002 Prius in both last year's and this year's Monte Carlo rally.  "She gets better with age.  Last year she got 62.something MPG and this year she got 63.6.  She is quite happy."

We then looked at the data together. 

 2005 Tour de Sol Monte Carlo-style Rally & Fuel Efficiency Competition
        Prius 2001-2003, 4 cars
                31 MPG
                45
                51
                64

48 MPG average throw out the high and low data points: 48 MPG average

        Prius 2004-2005, 9 cars
                40
                41
                44
                45
                46
                46
                46
                56
                60

47 MPG average throw out the high and low data points: 46 MPG average

Then I looked at the data at

 http://www.nesea.org/transportation/tour/documents/2006TdSMonteCarloResults_000.pdf

2006 Tour de Sol Monte Carlo-style Rally & Fuel Efficiency Competition at

        Prius 2001-2003, 4 cars
                52
                52.8
                53.7
                63.6

55.5 MPG average throw out the high and low data points: 53.2 MPG average

        Prius 2004-2005, 1 car
                54
                66.8

53.2 MPG average

Check out the full Tour de Sol results at

        http://www.nesea.org/transportation/tour/2006Results.php

So I don't think the divergence is as great as Drew suggests.  And these are not statistically significant data.  "Your mileage may (read `will') vary!" But the way we get statistically significant data is by having many more participants. 

And if you are a driver of a hybrid, or _any_ vehicle that you think gets great mileage, consider entering the Tour de Sol Fuel Efficiency Rally next year!


Report #51: Photos - Drew and Barbara Gillett

Photographs from the Tour de Sol:

	http://www.AutoAuditorium.com/TdS_Reports_2006/photos_022.html

Drew and Barbara Gillett

Looooong time volunteers at the Tour de Sol, Barabara and Drew are often behind the scenes.  This year they took one of the first-place prizes in the Monte-Carlo Style Fuel Efficiency Rally. 

This should have been their moment in the sun, but ...