The Tour de Sol Reports, 2008

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

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The Tour de Sol Reports, 2008


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Table of Contents

Report #1: Photos - 21CAC Entrants
Report #2: Tour-to-the-Shore and Tour-to-the-River Competitions -- Results
Report #3: Photos - Allan Arrison's "Voltswagon"
Report #4: Photos - Jerry Asher on his 50 state Plug-In Hybrid Tour
Report #5: 21st CAC Alternative Fuel Vehicles Event Scores
Report #6: Photos - More photos of Alan and his electric VW
Report #7: Photos - NESEA Spirit of the American Tour de Sol 20th Anniversary Award
Report #8: 2008 Best Student Presentation

For Tour de Sol Reports from 1994 through 2007, see

Report #1: Photos - 21CAC Entrants

Photographs from the Tour de Sol:

21CAC Entrants

The 21st Century Automotive Competition

The Burlington County Electechs

Methacton Electric Car Club

North Haven Community School

West Philly Hybrid X

St. Mark's School
"Moritz" - BioFuel Vehicle

St. Mark's School
"Woodstock" - Electric Vehicle

Report #2: Tour-to-the-Shore and Tour-to-the-River Competitions -- Results

by Paul Kydd

The Tour-to-the-Shore

The course this year was almost the same as last year, a circuit running east from BCIT in Westampton, NJ, to Lakehurst, south to Oyster Creek and northwest back to the start.  This year instead of backtracking from Batsto and going up through the heart of the pines at Chatsworth we continued west and went up Routes 206 and 541.  It shortened the course to 143 miles and gave us a look at blueberries instead of cranberries. 

The results are summarized below. 

Again the grand winner is a Honda Insight with the phenomenal mileage of 124.62 miles per gallon, or 1.21 gallons of fuel for the 143 mile trip plus a 2 mile allowance for fueling, comfortably beating last year's astonishing 75 mpg.  I could not believe this, but I personally witnessed the fill up, and the fuel was indeed up to the top of the filler neck.  Both the odometer and Nancy Hazard confirmed that Jack Martin, a new entrant from Appalachian College did in fact make the trip, so I guess it is true.  There is no question that Jack was the overall winner, and no question that we have again proved our point that vehicles that you can buy today can solve our petroleum dependence and make a major contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. 

Again, even the lowest mileage vehicle, a 32 year old Mercedes 300D, got far better mileage than the US average of 19 mpg and won the Diesel division for Ed Kreibick. 

The Biodiesel division was won by Simon Hauger of West Philadelphia in a VW Jetta with the remarkable mileage of 66.83 mpg.  Again I found this hard to credit, but I saw the fuel in the filler neck with my own eyes, and in fact the station spilled a half pint or so on the ground, so the true mileage is understated. 

Among the Priuses (Priae?) Al Walker, the Hobbit, took the prize at 68.97 mpg, with Kathleen Urban second and Nancy Hazard third.  The adherence to the target time was not sensational overall, but Nancy Hazard and her driver Barbara took the prize with a total variance of 6 minutes, all accumulated on the new last leg.  Up to that point they were perfect on each leg, a significant accomplishment in precision motoring. 

The Run-to-the-River

This event for the newly popular concept of plug-in hybrids consisted of a morning run clockwise around the 24 mile course to Riverside, Delran and Beverly, followed by charging and an afternoon run counterclockwise around the same course simulating a 24 mile commute to work.  We had two entrants, yours truly with our modified (and almost antique) Chevy S-10, and EV Jerry Asher with a brand new plug-in conversion of a 2005 Prius.  Jerry took the prize with a phenomenal 73.8 MPG and an estimated 8.1 miles on electric power only. 

The S-10 did about ten miles of each leg on electric power, but only achieved 21.5 mpg overall.  Part of this disappointing result was due to the fueling pump not shutting off automatically and spilling about a quart of gas on the ground.  Correcting for this would give us about 24 mpg.  At any rate it was better than the mileage on the same course without electric assist of 18.71 mpg.  To get really accurate results we will need to use a fuel burette rather than filling the tank to measure fuel consumption.  Nevertheless, it is a start at demonstrating what this new technology can contribute. 

Competition Results



                MPG          Time Variance    Rank       Rank
                             Minutes          Overall    In Division


 Kreibick, Ed
  1976 Mercedes 300 D
                30.78        7+                           1


 Moritz St.  Mark's
  2000 VW Jetta
                45.32        24                           2

 Hauger, S., W. Phila. 
  VW Jetta
                66.83        20                3          1


 Martin, J. 
  2000 Honda Insight
                124.62       13                1          1

 Natale, J
  2006 Prius
                 51.04       11

 Urban, K. 
  2007 Prius
                 63.54       57                           3

 Hazard, N
                 58.8         6

  2004 Prius
                 68.97       25                 2         2

        Run-to-the-River (for Plug-in Hybrids)

                MPG          Time Variance    Rank
                             Minutes          Overall

 Asher, J
  2005 Prius (modified)
                 73.8         54                1

 Kydd, P. 
  1986 Chevy S-10 (modified)
                 21.5          0

Report #3: Photos - Allan Arrison's "Voltswagon"

Photographs from the Tour de Sol:

Allan Arrison's "Voltswagon"

This Voltswagon pickup truck was at last year's 21CAC, but then it was all white and had a different controller.  It is still one of, if not the, cleanest conversions I have ever seen. 

The car is Allan's 20-miles-per-day go-to-work car.  "It will go 40 to 50 miles with room to spare."

The 16 6-Volt batteries in the bed of the pickup.  There is a Zivan charger at home and a Rusco charger for opportunity charging on the road. 

A pair of Volt and Ampere meters on the dash are the only evidence of the electric nature of the car. 

The green box in the lower right of this picture is the new Zilla controller.  It is water cooled by the small black radiator with the two white tubes connected to the bottom.  You can see the pump in one of the tubes. 

This shot of the Advanced DC motor, Zilla controller, and "Hairball" controller interface.  The Hairball, the brains of the controller, is separate and communicates with the the Zilla with a RJ-45 cable (green strapped to the bracing bar).  This means all the low-voltage and low-current cabling can be kept separate from the high-voltage and high-current cables. 

It is just another example of how clean this conversion is.  You can practically read the schematic off the wiring. 

Allan and "Voltswagon". 

There is a plastic "window" that lets you see the components without having to lift the hood. 

"I want to make it a public relations platform to show what can be done with electric cars." Someday Allan plans to have a button on the car that, when pressed, will play an explanation and light the various components under the hood and in the battery box.  "The car will speak for itself."

Report #4: Photos - Jerry Asher on his 50 state Plug-In Hybrid Tour

Photographs from the Tour de Sol:

Jerry Asher on his 50 state Plug-In Hybrid Tour

Jerry Asher, a member and officer of the Electric Vehicle Association of Greater Washington, DC, stopped at the 21CAC as part of his plan to visit the capitals of all 50 states in his plug-in hybrid Prius. 

His web site is , "Plugin Hybrid Electric Vehicle All Around America". 

Jerry's car was one of two plug-in hybrids that competed in the Drive to the River event on Saturday. 

The black circular cover on the bumper protects the 120 Vac plug used for recharging the long-range battery pack from the weather.  Except for that, and the signage, you would never know!

More signage. 

The battery pack used for extended range sits in the space usually occupied by the Prius' tool tray. 

The range pack can be lifted with the assistance of a pair of gas lift cylinders. 

In one of the plug-in Prius prototypes I saw the pack occupied the spare tire well.  This one does not. 

Report #5: 21st CAC Alternative Fuel Vehicles Event Scores

The link below takes you to a PDF file containing the scores for all the events except the Tour to the Shore for hybrids and biodiesel cars and the Drive to the River for the plug-in hybrids. 

This year, all four entrants were plug-in battery electric vehicles, except in the Autocross event. 

The six spreadsheet pages are:


   Link to the PDF

Report #6: Photos - More photos of Alan and his electric VW

Photographs from the Tour de Sol:

More photos of Alan and his electric VW

In the Event Results, this car was referred to as "007". 

EEVC member Alan Arrison and his VW pickup on display at the Burlington County, New Jersey, "Earth Fair" in Smithville Park. 

Alan won the Best Electric Vehicle Award

Report #7: Photos - NESEA Spirit of the American Tour de Sol 20th Anniversary Award

Photographs from the Tour de Sol:

NESEA Spirit of the American Tour de Sol 20th Anniversary Award

Three teams won the 2008 21st Century Automotive Challenge premier award called the NESEA Spirit of the American Tour de Sol 20th Anniversary Award.  The award was based upon outstanding performance in past Tour de Sol events, outstanding performance in the present 2008 event, and evidence of a strong sustainable program for the future. 

Accepting their awards are the representatives from all three schools.  In addition to West Philly, Methacton High School from Norristown, PA was chosen to represent the suburban public school systems, and St Mark's School from Southborough, Massachusetts was chosen to represent the private parochial school systems. 

This is the plaque awarded to West Philadelphia High School representing the urban public school systems. 

Report #8: 2008 Best Student Presentation

It has been one of the 21st Century Automotive Challenge (21st CAC) goals to focus on student teams.  One of our major awards which we present is the Best Student Team Presentation Award. 

The Best Student Team Presentation Guidelines reads as follows.  "The goal of the student team presentation is to address all of the goals of the 21st CAC."

"Design and develop a vehicle that practically reduces a highway vehicle's carbon footprint and provides for greater fossil fuel efficiency in transporting passengers and cargo from point A to point B.  Special attention is given to highway payload efficiency.  Speed and cost efficiency is also included.  Passenger safety, preservation of cargo, and the over-all environmental impact of vehicle production, cradle to grave, should also be included as important factors. "

Scoring for the selection of the Best Student Team Presentation should consider the following:

        Meeting the goals of the 21st CAC.                            60 %
           Relative size of carbon footprint                          10
           Fossil fuel payload efficiency                             10
           Speed and cost efficiency of vehicle                       10
           Environmental impact                                       10
           Safety of passengers and security of cargo                 10
           Other                                                      10

        The communication skills reflected in the presentation        25 %

        How well the presentation attracts future sponsors             5 %

        How well the program promotes involvement of future students  10 %

Professor Jack Martin, a member of the Triad Electric Vehicle Association in Burlington, North Carolina, and an instructor of Sustainable Transportation at Appalachian State University, volunteered to supervise the judging of the three student teams.  Approximately ten adult volunteers and participants in the 21st CAC filled out the prepared judging forms which were originated by Professor Tom Houck from Burlington County College, New Jersey.  Eight of the judges submitted full and complete scores. 

Each student team was allowed approximately 20 minutes presentation time including fielding questions from the audience. 

The Saturday evening portion of the student presentations was won by Methacton High School.  Five judges posted scores which outscored second place St Mark"s School by an average of 15 points each.  Three judges favored St Mark"s School over Methacton High School by an average of six points. 

The student team presentation award also includes the Sunday Earth Fair display.  Since circumstances prevented West Philadelphia High School and Methacton High School from participating Sunday, St Mark"s School easily forged ahead in the scoring to win the 2008 21st Century Automotive Challenge Student Team Presentation Award, basically uncontested.  This is the second year in a row that St Mark"s School has won this award.  Credit should be given to their instructor Ken Wells for his many years of leadership to the St Mark"s team.  The student team, however, functioned well on their own Sunday, and did an outstanding job of presenting their project to the passing crowd. 

Congratulations to St Mark's School from Southborough, Massachusetts!

 -- Ollie Perry