The Tour de Sol Reports, 2007

This year reporting on the "21st Century Automotive Challenge".

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The Tour de Sol Reports, 2007


See the main page of Tour de Sol 2007 Photos at

Table of Contents

Report #1: Tour de Sol replacement June 9 and 10 in New Jersey
Report #2: Nancy Hazard speaks: Tour de Sol Highlights -- and Where Do We Go from Here?
Report #3: Directions and Times
Report #4: Some of the Battery Electric Vehicle entrants at the 21CAC
Report #5: Hot West Philly High School sports car, the "Hybrid Attack" comes to NJ
Report #6: Results of the Competitions
Report #7: Photos - Woodstock Photos
Report #8: Photos - Lorax Photos
Report #9: Photos - Tour de Sol Highlights and Where Do We Go From Here?
Report #10: Photos - West Philadelphia High School "K1 Attack"

For Tour de Sol Reports from 1994 through 2006, see

Report #1: Tour de Sol replacement June 9 and 10 in New Jersey

There was no Tour de Sol this year, but if you are in New Jersey June 9 and 10 you can see Battery and Hybrid electric vehicles in competition and on display at 2 events:


	-	-	-	-	-	-	-	-	-

                       21st Century Automotive Challenge
                             The Tour to the Shore
                  a day-long rally to the scenic Jersey shore

                             Saturday June 9, 2007

                   Burlington County Institute of Technology
                               695 Woodlane Road
                             Westampton, NJ  08060

In three divisions:

    * Gasoline Vehicles
    * Diesel/Biodiesel Vehicles
    * Gasoline-Electric Hybrids

With awards including:

    * Best performance in each division
    * Best fuel economy in each division
    * Overall best fuel economy
    * Grand winner

Saturday evening will conclude with a catered Awards Ceremony & Dinner, featuring a talk entitled

			"Where do we go from here?"
				by Nancy Hazard,
		former director of the NESEA American Tour de Sol

The Battery Electric Vehicle Competition

    * Acceleration Trials
      see the zero-to-sixty power of electricity
    * Autocross Event
      feel a ride unhampered by the combustion engine
    * Technology Exhibition
      talk to the experts and entrepeneurs about their green experience

Other planned events

    * River to the Shore Electric Vehicle Rally
    * Tour de Sol Electric Bicycle, Neighborhood Vehicle & "Prototype" Category
    * Electric Wheel Chair & Single-Seat Three Wheel Electric Scooter

June 9 at the Westampton Campus of Burlington Country Institute of Technology BCIT) in Westampton, NJ, approximately 3-4 miles from exit 5 on the New Jersey Turnpike. 

		Burlington County Institute of Technology
		695 Woodlane Road
		Westampton, NJ  08060

	-	-	-	-	-	-	-	-	-

		Burlington Country Earth Fair	June 10

 Winning cars from the previous day, as well as "prototype" vehicles and their
 owners will be there to talk with visitors. 

    * Mini-Farmer's Market
    * Sustainable Living Tent
    * Guided Nature Walks
    * Artisan Crafts
    * Rock Climbing Wall
    * Puppet Shows
    * Live Music!
    * Ice cream & cotton candy!


	Eastern Electric Vehicle Club
	Mid Atlantic Renewable Energy Association (MAREA)
	North East Sustainable Energy Association (NESEA)

Details at

Report #2: Nancy Hazard speaks: Tour de Sol Highlights -- and Where Do We Go from Here?

In 1989 the American Tour de Sol was a competition between 5 solar powered cars.  And then it grew. 

Nancy Hazard, director of the Tour de Sol for many years, will give a presentation this Saturday evening on the

          ``Tour de Sol Highlights -- and Where Do We Go from Here?''

This will be part of the Awards ceremony for the 21st Century Automotive Challenge Competition on

                             Saturday 9 June 2007
                                6:00 - 8:00 PM
                                    at the
                      Fire Training and Banquet Facility
                               on the campus of
                   Burlington County Institute of Technology
                               695 Woodlane Road
                             Westampton NJ  08060

Nancy Hazard has been working in the field of energy and climate change solutions for the past thirty years.  She is the former director of the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association (NESEA), and the Tour de Sol, America's green car festival and competition driving toward zero carbon emissions.  Prior to joining NESEA she was self-employed as an educator, builder, and potter. 

During her 18 years at NESEA, with assistance from NESEA staff and hundreds of volunteers, she built the Tour de Sol from a 5-car event in 1989 to an event of international significance, whose message reached over 80 million people each year.  She also oversaw and/or ran conferences for professionals, and created NESEA's education program, which today, through resources, workshops, and conferences, reaches hundreds of teachers and thousands of students each year. 

Her present company, WorldSustain, is committed to promoting climate change solutions that support environmental security and justice while improving the economy, and our quality of life.  She can be reached at

                NHazard at WorldSustain dot net

Report #3: Directions and Times

                             Saturday 9 June 2007
                               on the campus of
               Burlington County Institute of Technology (BCIT)
                               695 Woodlane Road
                             Westampton NJ  08060


Restrooms will be available and handicap accessible at the BCIT campus.  All meetings and events will be covered by tents as needed for rain and handicap accessible at the BCIT campus. 

Those interested in Battery Electric and Hybrid-Electric Vehicles are invited.  Be aware that this is _not_ an event for the general public.  There will be no entertainment.  Bring your own food or use the local restaurants. 

    TIME                EVENT
 Morning          Entrants preparation and departure for competitions
 Noon             Lunch at local restaurants
 1:00 - 3:00 PM   All events underway
 3:00 - 5:00 PM   Vehicle Display, Autocross competition
 7:00 - 8:00 PM   Awards Ceremony at the Fire Training Facility
		  Nancy Hazard:
		    ``Tour de Sol Highlights -- and Where Do We Go from Here?''

All events are at

		 Burlington County Institute of Technology (BCIT)
                 The Westampton Campus
                 695 Woodlane Road
                 Westampton NJ  08060


 From the North:
  I295 South to Exit 45A (Mount Holly). 
  Take a left at 3rd Traffic light (Irick Road). 
  Right at the 1st light (Woodlane Road)
  BCIT is the first entrance on your left

 From the South:
  I295 South to Exit 45A (Mount Holly). 
  Take a left at 3rd Traffic light (Irick Road). 
  Right at the 1st light (Woodlane Road) BCIT is the first entrance on your left

 From the West:
  From Burlington-Bristol Bridge take 130 North for 1/2 mile to route 541 S. 
  From Turnpike Take exit 5 to route 541 S. 
  Take 541 South to Woodlane Road. 
  Make a right on Woodlane Road (jughandle type exit)
  BCIT is approximately 2.5 miles on the right just past the county library. 

 From the East:
  Take Route 206 north past the Route 38 intersection. 
  Turn left at the next light onto Route 630W (Woodlane Road). 
  Go thru 5 lights. 
  BCIT entrance is the last driveway on the right just past the county library. 

Report #4: Some of the Battery Electric Vehicle entrants at the 21CAC

The 21st Century Automotive Challenge Competition will feature some battery electric vehicles last seen at the Tour de Sol, including ... 

 Methacton Electric Car Club
 Methacton High School

The members of MECC made and maintain the battery-powered Lorax.  The three wheel car can travel up to 94 miles on one charge. 

The team won second place in category in the 2006 Tour de Sol.

 Saint Mark's Electric Vehicle Team
 St. Mark's School

The St. Mark's Electric Vehicle Team built Woodstock, a 1994 Ford look-a-like.  Woodstock is a zero emission vehicle powered by batteries that can be recharged using solar and wind power. 

Slide show at ...

More information at about the 21CAC at:

Report #5: Hot West Philly High School sports car, the "Hybrid Attack" comes to NJ

The 21st Century Automotive Challenge, 9 June 2007, Westampton NJ

	Student-Built Cars in Competition

On Saturday June 9th math teacher and auto club advisor of West Philadelphia High School, Simon Hauger, brings the club students and their snazzy-looking car to the campus of the Burlington County Institute of Technology (BCIT) to defend the school's title at the annual Tour de Sol alternative fuel transportation championship.  Several Burlington County College students have determined to out-drive and out-perform the West Philadelphia "Hybrid Attack", but, it will be difficult for anyone to beat the car and team from West Philly, who welcome all challengers.  The obstacle course testing driving skills and car handling characteristics will be run in the late afternoon. 

Methacton High School, BOCES from Middletown, New York, and St Mark's School will also have student built entries.  Methacton and St Marks are schools who collect energy from solar panels to store in the vehicle batteries.  The "Hybrid Attack", West Philly's top performing biodiesel sports car, won acclaim at the recent Philadelphia Auto Show and has been featured on the Discovery Channel Future Cars special. 

This event, called "The 21st Century Automotive Challenge" has attracted leaders in the alternative energy field such as David Goldstein, president of the Electric Vehicle Association of Greater Washington DC (EVA/DC) and Robert Wills, the technical director of the Tour de Sol for the past 19 years. 

        Hybrid-Electric Cars in Competition

Al Walker is an expert on the Toyota Prius Hybrid.  He will compete in the 150 mile "Drive to the Shore", against several other hybrid car drivers, to see who can achieve the most efficient, fuel-saving drive. 

Al will also answer Prius questions for both participants and the public (complete with computer demos of how the car works) Saturday evening after the event at BCIT and Sunday at the Earth Fair on the Delaware River in Burlington NJ. 

        The Tour de Sol:  Then, Now, and in the Future

The Tour de Sol is in transition, as it alway has been, in a day and age when drivers of all cars are facing tough times at the gas pump.  The Tour started as a solar-power-only car race.  It changed over time to include plug-in-charged battery-power-only cars and trucks, then hybrid-electric cars that used fuel, and plug-in power, and sometimes solar energy to drive down the road.  Eventually, it included many variatons on the theme "sustainable transportation", ranging from electric scooters to full-size hybrid-electric city transit buses. 

Nancy Hazard, the director of the Tour de Sol for 18 consecutive years, now runs her own sustainability consulting firm.  Nancy will address participants, volunteers, and the welcomed public at the award and student presentations ceremonies at the Burlington County Emergency Services Training Center adjoining the BCIT campus, about 7pm Saturday evening.  Her topic will provide an historical perspective of the Tour de Sol and answer some of the questions as to where did we come from, where are we, and where do we go from here?

        Public Display on Sunday, 10 June 2007, Burlington NJ

Sunday the cars will be on display at the annual Burlington County Earth Fair at Historical Smithville Park in Burlington.  The Boyertown Museum of Historic Vehicles will have an old operational Detroit Electric in mint condition on display.  A promotion firm from New York City will have a classic Checker Taxi on display. 

For more information contact

                        Mr. Oliver H.Perry
                        609 268 0944
                        609 922 7275

Sponsored by the Eastern Electric Vehicle Club


Report #6: Results of the Competitions

I know, I know.  It's kind of dumb to present the results before you know anything about the entrants, but that's how it's going to be this year.  I'm up to my eyebrows, so narrative structure be damned. 

The results are presented in this HTML page:
and this PDF file:

Stay tuned for photos of and interviews with the teams. 

Report #7: Photos - Woodstock Photos

Photographs from the Tour de Sol:

Woodstock Photos

"Woodstock", named after the Snoopy's little yellow bird friend, is from the Saint Marks School EV Club in Southborough Massachusetts. 

In past years one of their claims-to-fame was that they got all their energy from "clean" sources, namely the solar panels on the truck plus the Kansas wind and Evergreen solar power they purchased from the grid. 

Now they are collecting wind power when they are parked, also. 

Here is Woodstock in charging mode.  There is 300 watts of solar panels over the cargo bed, plus the generator. 

Another view.  The wind generator is plugged into one of six taps into the battery pack, accessed through the trunk. 

Here they are setting up the wind generator at the Burlington County Earth Fair. 

Rolling a wheel over the welded frame firmly anchors the wind generator stand. 

Then pulling a couple of lock pins allows the stand to be angled so as to attach the propeller and raise the telescoping tubes.  It is then rotated into the vertical position and the lock pins reinserted.  The box with the wire coming out has a toggle switch to apply brake the generator if the wind gets too strong. 

Report #8: Photos - Lorax Photos

Photographs from the Tour de Sol:

Lorax Photos

	#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.  It started as a 1999 "Lomax" kit car conversion built by John Murphy and later donated to the high school.

The team photo from their web page. 

Front view with the hood up.  The cylinders with fins are the two motors.  The diamond-plate box below the bumper holds some of the batteries. 

Rear view. 

Signage explains the different aspects of the vehicle to the public.  The panel with 18 half-circles are solar cells. 

Ready to start the autocross. 

Half-way through the autocross. 

Report #9: Photos - Tour de Sol Highlights and Where Do We Go From Here?

Photographs from the Tour de Sol:

Tour de Sol Highlights and Where Do We Go From Here?

Few of us are priviledged to have the truely long view of how an idea comes into being, grows, materializes into reality and take on a life of its own. 

At the awards ceremony for the 21st Century Automotive Challenge we heard Nancy Hazard review the American Tour de Sol from its incarnation to its present hiatus. 

Here are the slides along with the text of that presentation, provided by Nancy. 

Hello, I am Nancy Hazard of World Sustain.  I was involved with the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association's (NESEA) Tour de Sol from its start in 1989.  That first year I was a volunteer.  I later became the director, and worked on it for 18 years.  Ollie Perry, Director of the new 21st Century Automotive Challenge has graciously asked me to talk about my perspective of the highlights of the Tour de Sol, and suggestions of what I think needs to be done to continue to move forward the issues promoted by the Tour de Sol. 

In 1987 Urs Munwyler stared the Tour de Sol competition in Switzerland.  In 1988, Rob Wills, PhD candidate at Dartmouth College traveled to that event with the Dartmouth solar car team.  Upon returning, folks at MIT and Dartmouth got to talking about how it would be great to have an event like the Tour de Sol in the USA. Rob sat on the NESEA board, and so he proposed that they take it on.  NESEA was interested, and they received permission from Urs to create the American Tour de Sol.  This photo shows Dr. Robert Wills starting the Dartmouth car in the first Tour de Sol that started in Montpelier, May 1989. The purpose of the event was to showcase what Photovoltaics (PV) can do.  Although I knew that PV created electricity from sunlight, I can still remember this moment.  I found it tremendously moving and exciting to see a car go down the road using energy created from the sun that I was instantly hooked!

At the time, I had been building ``solar homes'' because I was deeply troubled by the fact that our world had been built on oil -- a finite resource.  These graphs show the production of oil from specific wells -- from discovery, to developing the equipment to pump the oil.  In each case we can see the growth of productivity of the well, the peak, and then the falling of productivity.  This is typical of all oil wells.  It is called Hubert's curve, and when we aggregate all the oil wells of the world we can expect the same curve -- and in fact we are seeing this pattern today.  Most people agree that the world oil production is at the peak, commonly referred to peak oil.  But the demand for oil is growing dramatically! So the need to change the world is more urgent than ever At that time, I wanted to work on getting the world off of oil, and when I learned that transportation uses 2/3rds of all the oil used in the US, I immediately decided to switch from building to the Tour de Sol. 

Rob Wills was fond of saying that all he wanted to do was ``change the world.'' When the Clean Air Act was passed in 1990, California began talking about creating a program that would require the auto makers to build and sell a certain number of electric vehicles in California if they wanted to keep selling conventional vehicles in that state.  And so the mission of the Tour de Sol changed.  We felt that to change the world, we needed to offer practical vehicles that people could use on a daily basis -- and our vision was electric vehicles (EVs) charged by renewably produced electricity! In my mind it seemed a lot easier to reduce oil use in transportation than from buildings because a car is an ``appliance'' that most people replace every 10 years.  All we needed to do is to get the autos to make a more efficient appliance, an electric appliance, and for people to buy them.  As it turned out this would be much more difficult than I ever imagined!

We formed an advisory group of participants and others and we talked about how we were going to ``change the world'' with the Tour de Sol.  We decided we needed to demonstrate what was possible.  Therefore we needed to inspire everyone to get involved in building the vehicle of our dreams -- students, auto manufacturers, engineers, hobbyists We needed funds to support our effort -- and we wanted the auto companies, our government and electric utilities to get involved -- so we invited them to enter the competition and become sponsors -- and many of them did! And we wanted to educate politicians and the general public, so we mounted major media campaigns around each annual event -- calling for participants, and then promoting the event itself, its entrants, sponsors, and its successes. 

Creating the scoring system was our tool to get the vehicles built that we wanted to demonstrate.  We started with the Swiss Tour de Sol Rules book, which was very detailed about safety issues, but was not oriented to practical vehicles, so with a committee lead by Rob Wills, who had become the Technical Director of the Tour de Sol, each year we revised the Rules Book, as well as the scoring system.  Technical testing and safety were important components of the event from the start.  The Swiss event focused on reliability and range.  Power could only come from electricity produced by PV on the vehicle, or on a separate PV charging station brought to the event.  As we moved to practical vehicles, the cars charged from the grid, and driving range became a major push of the event.  While many felt that 50 miles was adequate, auto companies and most consumers were not convinced.  Efficiency was added to the scoring system at some point.  The electric utility companies were interested in understanding how EVs might affect the electric grid, and so we were able to recruit Bob Goodrich, head of Northeast Utilities R&D, to build us a charging trailer (really a distribution system -- a trailer with lots of receptacles and instrumentation on the receptacles.). The charging trailer got its electricity from a ``convenient'' transformer on an electric utility pole -- a rather expensive connection, but worth it to the utility companies.(Later we resorted to a biodiesel-powered generator.) We revised the trailer many times and finally moved the data collection system from the trailer to individual house meters that entrants were responsible for hooking into their recharging systems.  Efficiency led to very light vehicles, and so we added the autocross event to ensure that the vehicles were robust enough to withstand daily practical use and be safe.  Around 2000 we added climate change emissions to the scoring system.  We worked with US DOE's Argonne National Laboratory so that we could quantify the climate change emissions from various fuels.  While this all made the scoring system tremendously complicated, and Rob and others struggled with the mechanics of spreadsheets and databases and producing accurate scoring results in a short time span, we felt strongly that we had to judge the vehicles in this way.  Nobody else was doing this work! For several years we ran gasoline vehicles in the event so that we would have data that could compare conventional vehicles to these new vehicles.  The data we collected was used by many non-profits.  By this time we had all kinds of vehicles in the competition -- but I'm getting way ahead of myself!

While the event grew from 6 entrants in 1989 to over 50 entrants, I'm going to tell the story of the entrants with just a few examples.  Solectria Corporation was the early hero of the Tour de Sol.  James Worden, who was often referred to as the ``Henry Ford of EVs,'' and Anita Rajan, MIT student soon to be wife of James and President of Solectria, founded Solectria Corporation in 1980 with other MIT students.  The first vehicle MIT entered is on the left with James in white.  This is the solar vehicle that went to the Swiss Tour de Sol and the first few American Tour de Sols.  The vehicle on the right James fondly refers to as his ``tin box.'' James built this electric car as a high school project, and he used it to commute from his home in Arlington to MIT while he was in college.  This was the first purpose-built EV that I had seen! James' sister is standing next to the car. 

Solectria's first purpose-built EV was the Lightspeed -- in the center.  It is flanked by its bread and butter product -- Geo Metros converted to electric propulsion.  Anita is in the front row far left, James is between the yellow and red cars, Andy Haefitz is to his right, and Gill Pratt is on the far right. 

Solectria's entries were always an incredible draw for the media.  Each year their entries would break their previous records.  Range records of 50 grew to 100, 150, 200, and then 250 miles on a single charge! Solectria paid incredible attention to efficiency.  Their GeoMetro's routinely drove one mile on 150 Watt-hours or less.  At 10 cents a kilowatt hour, that translates to 0.7 cents per mile for fuel! In the heyday of the Tour de Sol news of the Tour de Sol was carried on network news, over 300 news article were printed, and it was estimated that there were over 100 million media impressions!

We also started a conference -- the first and only solar and EV conference in the country for many years.  NESEA held many conferences for builders and architects at the time, so this seemed like a logical step.  At first we saw the conference as a way to get more Tour de Sol entrants -- by offering past and future entrants an opportunity to share information and enthusiasm.  The Symposium grew into the largest EV conference in the country with a trade show with auto and bus manufacturers, component manufacturers, and start-up companies such as Solectria and Solar Car Corp.  The last conference NESEA held was in New York City.  It drew over 600 attendees.  Then the EVAA (Electric Vehicle Association of the Americas), know today as the EDTA (Electric Drive Transportation Association), started holding an electric vehicle conference -- and it continues to hold an annual conference on electric-drive vehicles.  The EDTA is the trade organization and lobbying arm of those interested in electric-drive vehicles including auto makers, battery manufacturers, electric utility company, hydrogen fuel cell advocates and others. 

Bob Stempel put the NESEA conference on the map by accepting our invitation to keynote our conference in 1992 when he was chair of General Motors.  At that conference he met James Worden, and they formed a relationship that enabled Solectria to receive Geo Metro gliders (body with no motor).  In 1993 Bob Stempel moved to Energy Conversion Devices, and worked with Stan Ovshinksy to create the Ovonic nickel metal hydride battery company.  In this photo, Bob (back left) joins Solectria Corporation at the 1996 Tour de Sol finish line to celebrate the success of the Solectria Sunrise, which drove 373 miles on a single charge using the Ovonic battery system! This was an amazing achievement!

Much to NESEA's amazement and surprise, high schools began to build EVs and enter them in the Tour de Sol! Peterboro High School in New Hampshire was the first high school to enter the Tour de Sol in about 1991. This group went on to create several other beautiful EVs, and other high schools took on the challenge, and brought amazing entries such as Topher Waring's VW bus efforts, Earl Billings one-person solar commuter, and Paul O'Brien's fuel cell trike to name a few.  By 2006, the Tour de Sol had more entries from high schools than any other single source. 

New Hampshire Technical Institute participated for over 10 years, and the evolution of their entries reflects the growth of the Tour de Sol.  They started with a solar racing car (top left).  They then built the Sungo, a practical 2-seater commuter vehicle, with PV on the roof.  This vehicle was very efficient.  At first it used lead acid batteries, and then the students began experimenting with the Ovonic nickel metal hydride batteries.  The top right photo is a vehicle that Tom Hopper, the team advisor and professor created.  He used this beautiful one-person EV to commute from his off-grid home to work every day.  After several years he built the trailer so he could go anywhere -- the trailer had an auxiliary power unit (APU) i.e. a gasoline engine.  In one amazing NYC to DC event, instead of trailering the vehicle to the event to participate, he drove to and from the event! This was a major demonstration of the practicality of the vehicles we were showcasing!

Electric utility companies had been bringing prototype EVs built by the major auto makers (OEMs) to the Tour de Sol for several years, but when Ford brought its Ecostar to the Tour de Sol in 1994 it was a watershed year for me.  This was the first serious OEM entry.  Roberta Nichols, Ford executive and a race car driver drove the route two weeks before the event with her navigator.  Ford mounted a major media campaign about their entry, and Roberta was doing radio interviews around the country whenever she was not driving.  Needless to say they took first place in the Production Category! The Ecostar was a beautiful EV with over 100 miles driving range using sodium sulfur batteries.  These batteries were popular in Europe, and Ford Motor Company had invested heavily in them.  In the next year or so, Ford was to experience two fires with this battery technology, and their EV program started loosing its forward momentum as they struggled to find suitable replacement batteries.  The starting ceremony at the World Financial Center in New York City was amazing with over 50 entrants, and many exhibitors including an electric tank from the US Department of Defense. 

In 1998 Toyota approached us and asked if we'd be interested in having their Toyota Prius -- a new hybrid vehicle that had not yet been introduced into the USA -- as our Pace car.  To be honest, this offer presented a dilemma for NESEA. A gasoline vehicle, even an efficient gasoline vehicle, did not demonstrate our dream of an EV charged by renewables.  In fact, for several years, we had allowed student hybrid vehicles (HEV) to enter, because the US Department of Energy (DOE), which was a major sponsor of the Tour de Sol, also sponsored a collegiate-level HEV competition, and they wanted to offer those teams more opportunities to compete in events.  We had reluctantly agreed, since they held the purse strings, and again we reluctantly agreed to Toyota's proposal for the same reason Pictured here is US DOE Secretary Pena waving the checkered flag as the Toyota Prius arrived in DC.  To be honest, this was also an uncomfortable event for the DOE, because they did not want to recognize the Prius because it was not ``made in the USA.'' In 1999 Honda became a major sponsor of the Tour de Sol and shared the title sponsorship with the DOE for the following three years.  In 1999 Honda started showcasing the Honda Insight, the first hybrid vehicle on the US market, and shortly thereafter the hybrid Honda Civic. 

At long last it became more politically acceptable to talk about climate change -- and it became more widely accepted that it existed, and that we humans were the primary cause. 

As mentioned earlier, we added climate change emissions to our scoring system.  We also opened the event to all alternative fuel vehicles (AFV) --not just HEVs using alternative fuels, but all vehicles that wanted to demonstrate how their vehicles could meet the mission of the Tour de Sol -- which was more clearly defined as ``reducing oil use and climate change emissions'' later to be know as our goal of ``zero-zero.'' Needless to say, the opening of the doors was hotly debated by the advisory committee, and it also resulted in a major overhaul of the scoring system -- with the goal that we could demonstrate to the world which path would lead to our ultimate goal of zero-zero.  To avoid as much controversy as possible, we used USDOE's Argonne National Laboratories numbers generated by their GREET analysis.  We understood that electricity and alternative fuels could be made in many different ways, and that the climate change emissions from these fuels varied depending on their feedstocks, and how they were made.  Therefore we knew there were warts in our scoring system, but that they were no easily resolvable.  Eventually, efficiency and climate change emissions became more than 50% of the score.  West Philadelphia High School was one of the first teams to enter with an AFV. Here they are receiving Honda's Power of Dreams Award for their biodiesel Jeep. 

When we opened the doors to all AFVs, a whole new flood of innovative vehicles entered the event.  On the left -- West Philadelphia High School build an eye- catching kit car, the Attack that was fast and efficient and ran on biodiesel On the right, University vehicles that had been modified to run on E85 (85% ethanol and 15% gasoline) began to enter. 

The two vehicles that were most exciting to me were the two that really demonstrated our idea of zero-zero.  The upper left vehicle was built by University of Wisconsin students.  They converted a ``Sparrow,'' a briefly produced one-person EV, to be a hybrid vehicle that ran on electricity and hydrogen.  When parked, they pulled out a PV panel and a small wind turbine to recharge the batteries and make hydrogen for the next leg of the journey.  Western Washington University's Viking 32 is an amazing car that actually reduces climate change emissions every mile that it drives! It is an efficient purpose-built internal combustion engine vehicle that runs on methane (or natural gas.) The methane came from the manure at a dairy farm near their campus.  Since methane is 20 times more effective as a global warming gas as carbon dioxide, by burning methane and turning it into CO2, it is reducing climate change emissions as it drives! While this idea is not cost effective today, it could be in the near future -- and it is the kind of innovative and long-term thinking that we need to really change the world!

In 2005, NESEA had to face the fact that the Tour de Sol had major economic challenges.  The Bush Administration was not interested in alternative fuels, so we lost our DOE funding.  Our funds from states started drying up as they became strapped for cash.  The auto companies had moved on from marketing hybrid vehicles to ``early adopters'' that attended the Tour de Sol to mainstream marketing.  And schools were also struggling financially so it was more difficult for student teams to build vehicles, and to come to an event that was 8-days long! We therefore changed the event from an 8-day rally that stopped in 5-12 communities to a 3-4-day ``hub and spoke'' event that had a home base, with events that went out from that point.  We also sought and found a partner -- the Saratoga (NY) Automobile Museum -- who helped us reach mainstream people interested in automobiles.  Two new events were also born to attract new entrants to the Tour de Sol.  Josh Kerson Run, owner of Run About Cycles, was interested in sharing information with other companies creating electric bikes -- and so the Around Town Vehicle event was born.  This event not only attracted electric bike manufacturers, it also offered students an opportunity to get involved with a project that was less expensive than a full- size car.  And it offered the Tour de Sol an opportunity to demonstrate low impact non-auto travel options -- ``new fun ways of getting around!'' This event grew to 15 entries within two years. 

Jim Dunn, CEO of the Center for Technology Commercialization was the instigator of another new event -- the Monte Carlo-style Rally & 100-mpg Challenge.  He recruited Gilles Labelle, Craig Van Battenberg and others to create this exiting event for hybrid and alternative fueled vehicle owners -- and challenged them to demonstrate how efficiently they could drive their vehicles! We were thrilled when the event attracted 50 entries the first year.  It also included several HEV owners that had modified their vehicles in various ways to get even better performance -- with turbochargers, or extra battery packs.  Valence Technology brought the first plug-in hybrid (PHEV) to the event in 2005. 

In 2006, Hymotion, that offered a PHEV conversion kit for a Toyota Prius or Ford Escape hybrid, showcased their vehicle -- although they did not compete because our scoring system was not set up to showcase the advantages of such a vehicle. 

So.  Where do we go from here? The need has never been greater for changing how we get around.  The climate crisis, peak oil, war in the Middle East over oil, the ever growing population and increased cars and demand for energy, and environmental degradation due to our addiction to fossil fuels is growing all issues that are looking for solutions. 

When I look back on our successes I can see that: we have hybrids and biofuels on the market; consumers are buying hybrids and asking for more fuel efficient vehicles; and hundreds of young people have been involved in the event.  Though we are not in touch with most of them, we are hopeful that participating in the Tour de Sol touched them in some way, and that whatever they are doing they are carrying their understanding of the severity of the situation -- and are working with us toward solutions

Others have also taken up our cause -- maybe not the cause of absolute zero- zero, but the cause of incrementally working in that direction.  Michelin Tire Company created the Challenge Bibbendum in 2001 -- an international competition that challenges the auto companies to demonstrate their vehicles on the market today and prototypes that have good environmental performance.

The Automotive X Prize was announced this year.  It offers a multi-million dollar prize to entrants that bring vehicles that get 100 mpg, meet EPA emissions standards, and are fun to drive.  Their goal is attract teams from around the world ``to design viable, clean and super-efficient cars that people want to buy.''

But let's take a reality check Read the slide and you will get the sorry picture of our lack of success in reducing oil use by increasing fuel efficiency.  What happened? People bought SUVs and auto makers made them.  Also the number of people and cars has increased over the past 18-years.  If you take action today and call your Congress people, we can change this by raising the CAFE standards, and require auto makers to improve the fuel economy of their vehicles.  Alternative fuels can also be helpful, but I have always been hesitant to embrace them with exuberance for several reasons.  Firstly - we have to focus on reducing the need first -- and put more fuel efficient vehicles on the road, along with campaigns to walk, bike, take mass transit, car pool, car share, and just drive less Secondly, we have to be ever vigilant about ``unintended consequences.'' For example, already we have seen at least two bad consequences of biofuels.  The demand for corn to make ethanol has driven up the cost of corn so people in Mexico cannot afford to buy tortias, and New England farmers are going bankrupt because they cannot afford to feed their dairy cows.  The demand for oil to make biodiesel has already encouraged people to cut down rain forests so they can plant palm oil trees and make money.  The net effect is more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.  Look at the full cycle.  Look at the feed stock.  I have a huge fear that market trends (like price of vegetable oil) will take this whole thing out of our hands and spin the world out of control. 

If you read this slide you will see that we are on the cusp of beginning to address and regulate climate change emissions.  This is great news -- but it will only happen if you take the initiative of call your Congress people and telling them, and the EPA why they must act today on this issue. 

What I see as the largest unmet need -- now that the Tour de Sol is no longer running -- is a competition that would inspire young people -- and the 21st Century Automotive Challenge has all the ingredients that offer this to high school students! As noted in this slide, I'd prefer an event that had a wide range of vehicles, like electric bikes and solar/electric off-road vehicles, in the hope that if the event offered an opportunity to participate with less expensive projects that more students would compete.  But if there is not a volunteer to take this on it would be best to let it go.  It is clear to me that the event, at least for now, has to be low cost.  I do not see money from the auto companies.  The federal government will not have money until we have a new administration.  The state government might have some support, depending on the state.  For a low-cost event, volunteers become more important than ever.  They must now not only be on hand during the event, but volunteers must take on planning, fundraising, registration, promotion etc. -- as the creators of the 21st Century Automotive Challenge have.  Partnerships also become more important -- as they enable an event to not only cut costs (no site rental fees) but also to reach a larger audience than the event organizers could reach on their own. (examples are the Saratoga Automobile Museum, Burlington County Earth Fair.)

The Tour de Sol could never have existed without its volunteers.  Volunteers have shaped the mission of the event, the Rules and the scoring system.  Volunteers do the tech testing, the scoring, the recharging and refueling, the site decoration, the photography, the public education and much more.  Volunteers worked in each community before the event to create a unique event that would be exciting and attractive for their community.  Volunteers have created new Tour de Sol events.  As you can see, the volunteers are the heart and soul of the Tour de Sol. 

Young people are the future.  In addition to the many entries from high schools, colleges, and universities, NESEA developed curricular materials for middle and high school students -- everything from a 150 page resource for high school teachers, to trip tally exercises for elementary school students, the Junior Solar Sprint for middle school students, and scavenger hunts and more for classes that wanted to take a field trip to the Tour de Sol.  These classroom resources are downloadable free from the NESEA web site at
Click on the K-12 education section. 

I want to put the Tour de Sol in context of an overall plan to reduce climate change emissions.  NRDC (The Natural Resources Defense Council) has a plan to reduce carbon emissions by 60% over the next 50 years.  This graph shows how we can lower carbon emissions from the base case of ``doing nothing.'' The slope at the top represents ``doing nothing'' i.e. ``business as usual' (BAU) The first ``wedge'' shows how using energy efficient lights and appliances etc. can reduce our electrical demand and therefore our carbon emissions.  The second wedge shows how making our buildings more energy efficient can reduce overall energy use (by reducing the need for oil, gas, and electricity) The third wedge is ``our wedge.'' I'll talk more about this in the next slide The fourth wedge shows how we can reduce carbon emissions by improving the efficiency of our large trucks and air planes, and by encouraging people to drive less by implementing smart growth strategies, and making it easier for people to walk, bike, use mass transit, car pool, or car share.  The fifth wedge is using renewable technologies to produce zero-carbon energy.  The final and sixth wedge is the carbon emission reductions that could be achieved if carbon sequestration technologies were developed.  This technology would capture the carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants and then bury that carbon underground. 

This graph shows in more detail the challenges that all of the Tour de Sol entrants are working on.  It shows how NRDC thinks we are going to reduce carbon emissions from business as usual (BAU) from the transportation sector.  The most amazing thing to me is their prediction that we can cut carbon emissions from passenger vehicles by 85%! You can see on the right that a majority (64%) of the overall gains are from vehicle efficiency. 29% is from switching to less carbon intensive fuels (electricity, natural gas, and biofuels such as ethanol, biodiesel, and methane instead of gasoline and diesel.) And 7% is from smart growth -- getting people to drive less.  Since today in the US, 2/3rds of all the oil is used for transportation, and one third of all the greenhouse gas emissions are emitted from transportation, the work that everyone is doing through the Tour de Sol is critically important. 

In closing, I would like to thank everyone that has helped with the Tour de Sol over the many years that I have been associated with it.  Please see slide for this list.  I would also like to thank those that are carrying the ball forward.  Ollie Perry, Paul Kydd, past Tour de Sol volunteers, and many others that I know were working behind the scenes in birthing the 21st Century Automotive Challenge. 

In closing I'd like to show you a photograph taken in 1989 -- at the start of the Tour de Sol.  The young boy in the foreground is Rob's son Tyler -- who is now a college student.  I'd also like to share with you an oft-cited quote from Margaret Mead, renowned sociologist.  ``A small group of thoughtful people could change the world Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.''

I challenge everyone reading this to pick up the torch and run with it.  The future is in your hands. 

Report #10: Photos - West Philadelphia High School "K1 Attack"

Photographs from the Tour de Sol:

West Philadelphia High School "K1 Attack"

This car has turned heads since the first time it showed up at the Tour de Sol in 2004.  But since we last saw it the high school team has given it a snazzy paint job that makes it stand out even more!

The front end of the car is virtually empty.  The original plan was to make the "Attack" a hybrid, with electric drive in the front and biodiesel engine in the back.  The engine is there, but all the electric components are removed.  Maybe someday ... 

With the driver door up, you can get a hint of where some of the batteries will eventually go.  The channels below both doors have lots of room for batteries. 

At the start of one of the Attack's Autocross runs, that black plume shows that just stomping on the accelerator is not the best way to accelerate.  That is just unburnt fuel, even if it is "green" biodiesel.  Even so, the Attack won the Autocross.