The Tour de Sol Reports, 2003
Sponsored by The AutoAuditorium System

Unless otherwise noted, these all photos were taken by and Copyright 2003 to John Helwig.

Tour de Sol 2003 Photos

This is the main page for collections of photographs from the 2003 Tour de Sol.

The collections are such that most pictures will show up in several places.

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Photograph of GM's Hy-wire

Here is a publicity photo of GM's Hy-wire concept car. The body and passenger compartment is a separate unit which is attached to the Autonomy "skateboard" that contains all the hydrogen storage, fuel-cells, motors, and control systems. Note that the handles to the front and back doors are next to each other, which means the rear door is hinged towards the rear. Also note that the thing above the bumper is actually a window. The drivers position is layed out so they can see the road immediately in front of the car. This vehicle will be on dispay at the Tour de Sol Festivals in Trenton, Philadelphia and Washington DC.

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Photos of the Allison Parallel Hybrid-Electric Bus

The Allison bus, quite frankly, surprised me. The encapsulation of the two electric motors in the transmission, and using them to start the diesel engine, drive the bus at slow speed, and control the speed and torgue transfer of the vehicle is quite sophisticated.

The Allision bus on display in Washington DC.

The sign on the side reads, "Up to 90% reduction in emissions."

The view from the rear.

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Vegginator, #007

If I remember correctly, the artwork on this car was donated by a local sign company.

The hood art implies the recipe for biodiesel: Take left over cooking oil from fried foods, add lye and alcohol, mix thoroughly, allow to separate, skim biodiesel off top.

Moving smartly along during the acceleration tests in Burlington New Jersey.

Vegginator was given a place of honor in its town team of Trenton New Jersey.

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Electric Blue, #10

Last year this truck had a hydrogen fuel cell recharging the batteries for extra range. Now it belongs to the Woodbury High School Advanced Technology class, who, with the Eco Living Fellowship, the mayor and community of Woodbury New Jersey, entered it in the Tour de Sol.

Electric Blue is a conversion of a 1981 Ford Courier pickup truck.

Some of the batteries are under the hood, and the rest below the truck bed.

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Kineticar III, #18

Passed testing and ready to rally.

Here you can see the three propane canesters in the back of the truck. Having them removable meant they could be weighed, which made determining fuel consumption much more reliable than in previous Tour de Sols.

By adding the plastic faring, the team hoped to cut down on aerodynamic drag.

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Solar Black Bear, #20

The Solar Black Bear is a working vehicle that is truly solar powered. From May to November it is used around the University of Maine campus, driving about 15 miles a day. During that time it is not plugged in. All of its power comes from the sun.

The 1100 Watt solar panel can be tilted to either side and by varying amounts to maximize to sun energy collected.

The hatches in the truck bed have plastic covers to show off the batteries without having the terminals exposed. Remove those covers, and the batteries are then accessible.

Powered by American Photons!

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The Olympian, #16

Being scrutinized by the scrutineers during technical testing.

Ready to roll for the range test.

On display in Trenton. The plastic cover keeps curious hands at a safe distance.

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Proxima, #17

Not quite ready for prime time, the Universty of Tulsa decided to bring their new hybrid to the Tour de Sol anyhow.

Let's see ... there's the engine, and the motor, and ...

With the lamp cover off, you can see the double row of LEDs in the tail lights.

Leaving Trenton for the Autocross.

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Hybrid Hippo, #22

Just remember, as you look at these pictures, that this vehicle started life as a Jeep Wrangler.

Checking the total weight and weight distribution during technical testing.

Left to right, the fuel tank, the controller and the engine.

"What did we forget? Oh, right! A door!" Notice the single windshield wiper above the windshield.

The West Philly team.

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Viking 23, #23

Viking 23 on display at The Great American Green Transportation Festival in Philadelphia.

The passenger compartment. The wide area between the seats and the body contains the batteries for the motor that drives the front wheels.

I recognize those feet! That's, that's, ...

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Patriot, #27

The Patriot is a 1993 Ford Probe "EV" conversion. Miramar High School teams have traveled to competitions from Agawam Mass to Phoenix AZ since their inception in 1997. Numerous awards for performance as well as endurance have been achieved. This is their first appearance in the Tour de Sol.

Arriving in Trenton.

Under the hood.

A picture perfect finish.

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Veggie Golf, #32

Lining up for the range test.

Answering the public's questions.

Show your attitude!

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CC Probester, #33

This one you have to see from all sides ...

... the front ...

... the rear ...

... and the inside.

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Al C. O'holic, #35

Ready for inspection in Burlington.

Arriving in Philadelphia.

And if this is Wednesday, that must be the Capital building.

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Heibao EV, #36

The Heibao EV and the IT are examples of LSVs, Low Speed Vehicles.

Is this what they mean by a micro-van?

What do you do with that space under the rear seat? A storage drawer, of course.

That thing with the Greek temple on top is the controller and its cooling tower.

Also being shown, but not competing, was the IT from Dynasty Motors in British Columbia.

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Electro, #38

We are next in line, right?

Count them. Two motors, two controllers.

Really Mom, it isn't a painted backdrop. That's the Capital. It was a perfect day!

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The Lorax, #45

From this angle it is obvious there are not two rear wheels.

Ever just feel like crying?

Someone let the smoke out! (But they got back on the road again!)

Now this is top-down weather!

Say Ahhhhhh!

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Fire Fly, #42

The white faring on the back both covers the batteries and lowers aerodynamic drag.

A peek under the hood.

At the Autocross.

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Kyoto Codex, #47

On display in Burlington.

Someone told me that the license plate holder read (something like) "What's a gas station?"

Mark, Jon and the trophy.

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Patriot, #27

The Patriot is a 1993 Ford Probe "EV" conversion. Miramar High School teams have traveled to competitions from Agawam Mass to Phoenix AZ since their inception in 1997. Numerous awards for performance as well as endurance have been achieved. This is their first appearance in the Tour de Sol.

Arriving in Trenton.

Under the hood.

A picture perfect finish.

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Buck Hybrid, #49

This vehicle will also be entered in the FutureTruck competition.

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Eskimobile, #52

A patriotic paint job, showing the flag.

The wooden rack contain holds jars of various seeds that produce vegetable oils. The oils can then be turned into biodiesel.

On display in Washington.

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Parking for at the Trenton Festival.

The control electronics for driving the electric motor is under a clear cover. The wiring is super-neat, color-coded, and easy to understand. The green box on the left is the battery charger. The batteries are in welded metal boxes under the bench seats.

The DC motor drives the rear-wheel transaxle on this vehicle. The electric wiring and mechanics are neat and easy to get at. The work was supervised by an electrician, but executed by the high school students. An excellent example of how these things should be done, to my mind.

Display boards explain the Green Energy Project and the chemistry of making biodiesel.

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Woodstock, #56

The name Woodstock comes from the bright yellow paint job. Or is that the other way around?

Team advisor Ken Wells tells the truck's story to a visitor of the Washington Festival.

Every vehicle needs its mascot, but what is with those ears?

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Zodiac, #7

A solar-powered vehicle of the type that competed in the first American Tour de Sol in 1989.

The white faring on the right covers the continuously variable transmission. The electric motor drives the forward cone, the rear cone driver the chain drive, on the left, that connects to the wheel.

The support trailer hauls the car, tools, parts and displays and acknowledges sponsors,

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S&S Autosports Toyota Prius, #70

Leaving the Trenton Festival, on the way to the Autocross ...

... where the car gets put through its paces.

Bob Strattan explains the hybrid technology to visitors at the Washington Festival.

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SEVRX, #76

Ready for inspection in Burlington.

A sophisticated, student-built charger manages the pack of 1600 Lithium-Ion cells.

A view from the rear.

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Sunpacer, #92

This is Sunpacer's 11th appearance at the Tour de Sol.

Ready to rally!

The large flat panel is the solar panel that charges the batteries.

This shot a glimps under the solar panel that slopes down the back of the car.

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eGO Scooters

These scooters where shown with two types of batteries: lead acid and lithium-ion.

The batteries are kept under the foot support.

The visitors in Trenton showed a lot of interest.

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DiamlerChrysler GEM

"Can I keep it, Mom? Someday my feet will reach the pedals!"

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Junior Solar Sprints

The Junior Solar Sprints were held at the Washington Festival. Kids are given kits that include a solar panel and an electric motor. They then build cars powered by sunlight and race them.

Ready ... Set ...


The solar panels are usually tiltable, so they can be points directly at the sun for maximum power.

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Measuring the Fuel for the milage tests.

Many of the Tour de Sol competitions depend on getting accurate data so as to measure the vehicles' performance. These pictures show the measuring of fuel to get accurate hybrid and alternative-fuel categories.

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People Pictures (mostly)

The Tour de Sol runs on the dedication and energy of many, many people. Here are a few ...

Teams checking and getting their paper work.

Barbara Gillett

Drew Gillett

For as long as anyone can remember, Drew has marked the rally route with colored arrows. Here he is helped by a volunteer from one of the competing teams.

Drew and his team of path markers.

Mike Skelly, Jr. and Rob Wills at the acceleration testing area.

Anissa Sanborn

Nancy Hazard, Director of the Tour de Sol

Gail Burrington

Solar living model home.

Bob Strattan and Kate Skelly

Spencer Quong

Janice Dauphinais -- getting the job done.

Janice giving out the good news. "You've passed tech testing!"

Priscilla Helwig

Giving a school tour.

Warren Leon, Executive Director of NESEA

The Great New England Energy Show truck provides electricity for the sound system and other purposes. Solar panels on the roof charge batteries in the truck and inverters produce 120 Volt AC current for various loads.

Mark Skinder, cleaning the solar cells on the Energy Show truck.

Steve Kurkoski, keeper of the charging trailer.

Ambrose Spencer and Nancy Hazard

Ambrose Spencer set up his "solar toys". The plastic pool had a water fountain, and the round silver thing is a fan. He also set up a tug-of-war between students and a solar-powered electric winch. That was very popular.

Eugene Beer, the PianoPeddler.

Rob Wills, Technical Director of the Tour de Sol

Mike Bianchi interviewing the Sunpacer team.

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The Electric Hog, #12

Carl Vogel with his Electric Hog.

Students attending the Tour de Sol think the Electric Hog is cool.

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General Motors Hy-wire

Front passenger side. Actually, that all depends. The driver controls can be moved from the left side to the right.

Front wheel and bumper.

Arriving at the Philadelphia Festival.

"Will I get to drive something like this?" Notice the little rear-view camera housing on the front corner of the side window. It's image is presented on an LCD screen inside the car, at just about that position, although a little lower and further forward, mounted on the inside surface of the front wheel well. There is another camera-monitor pair on the other side.

Now that's a BIG game console. Actually it is used for data analysis and emergency braking. It also plays Tetris.

The rear seats. The center panels of the seat backs are a mesh material that "breaths" easily. Notice the size of the single door hinge.

Here you can see one LCD display on the steering wheel and another on the center console. Notice how the steering wheel is on the left side of an arm supported by the center console. The arm can be slide so it would now be in front of the right seat, and the steering wheel slides on the arm so it is in the correct position for the person in that seat.