Around the World with a Solar Powered Vehicle



    Louis Palmer has embarked on an ambitious undertaking: a journey around
    the world with a vehicle powered only by solar energy, the SOLARTAXI. He
    left home in Lucerne, Switzerland, on July 3, 2007, and is expected to
    arrive in Montréal on September 19, 2008.

    MONTREAL, Sept. 18 /CNW Telbec/ - Louis Palmer has a singular vision: to
demonstrate to the world just how dire the global climate situation has become
and how many solutions to the problem already exist. How? By making greater
use of renewable energy sources. "Thus far, I've covered nine-tenths of the
planet and haven't paid a single cent for gas!" he says. Travelling 53,000 km
on solar energy alone is a tremendous feat!

    Solar power

    The SOLARTAXI has two components: a three-wheeled vehicle and a trailer
equipped with Q-Cell solar batteries. It was designed by four prestigious
Swiss schools: the Haute école de technique et d'architecture, in Lucerne
(HTA), the Ecole polytechnique fédérale, in Zurich (EPFZ), the HES Argovie and
the HES Berne. It is completely powered by solar energy, half of which is
produced by the batteries in the trailer and the other half by solar panels
installed on the roof of the Swisscom building in Kvniz, Berne. This energy is
fed into the electrical grid, so that the vehicle's batteries can be plugged
in and charged anywhere, anytime. This means that the electricity used by the
vehicle during the journey is offset by that generated in Switzerland by the
solar unit. The solar taxi uses only renewable energy and produces no
pollution. Palmer wants to demonstrate that sustainable technology is already
available for daily use, and can even get him around the world.

    Why a taxi?

    Another interesting fact is that the solar taxi has room for a passenger,
hence its name. A series of travellers have joined Palmer for different legs
of the journey. The solar taxi is fitted with luxurious leather seats and can
reach a top speed of 90 km/h. Its steering wheel can be shifted horizontally
to allow either the driver or the passenger to drive the vehicle. It can also
be adapted to right- or left-hand drive. During his journey around the world,
Palmer is being joined by Thomas Gottschalk, a German student, who is driving
a conventional vehicle. This accompanying vehicle plays an essential role,
carrying all equipment needed for this long trip.

    Travelling ever eastward - via 40 pays

    Louis Palmer began his journey on July 3, 2007, heading eastward via
Germany, where he stopped in to see his main sponsor, Q-Cells. From there he
crossed Eastern Europe, the Middle East, India, Indonesia, New Zealand,
Australia and the Far East, and over thirty major cities in North America.

    From September 19 to 29, 2008: the SOLARTAXI will be passing through
    Quebec

    Friday, September 19
    10:30 a.m. Louis Palmer will be received at Montréal City Hall, where he
    will sign the city guestbook.
    11:30 a.m. He will meet the media and business community at the Consulate
    General of Switzerland.

    Saturday, September 20
    11 a.m. to 5 p.m.: Louis Palmer will be on the Quays of the Old Port of
    Montréal, across from the Montréal Science Centre, to meet members of the
    public.

    Thursday, September 25
    Noon to 2 p.m. Lecture in Salle Marie-Victorin at UQAM.

    Monday, September 29
    Tour of the Timminco facilities, in Trois-Rivières.

    Interesting facts

    - This project will set a world record, as the first solar powered
    vehicle to travel around the globe.
    - Palmer's daily blog can be consulted on-line, at www.solartaxi.com.

    Project partners

    Louis Palmer managed to obtain the support of partners from a variety of
fields for this one-of-a-kind project. They include:
    Q-Cells, United Nations Environment Programme, Swisscom, Technopark
Lucerne, Wave Communications Grebien Network, MES-DEA Zebra Battery, Schindler
Apprentice Training, Kuhne + Nagel, Servax Drives, Rockwell Automation,
Ruthishauser Car Polstery, Alu Menziken, Presence Switzerland, and a number of
Swiss universities.

    The SOLARTAXI's visit to Quebec is being co-ordinated by the Consulate
General of Switzerland, the Ville de Montréal, the Ecole de technologie
supérieure and the Association des Véhicules Electriques et Ecologiques du
Québec.




For further information:

For further information: Media contact: Louis Palmer, Cell: ++41 79 343
88 01, solartaxi@gmail.com, http://www.solartaxi.com/press/; Lorraine Hébert,
President, CEO, Association des Véhicules Electriques et Ecologiques du
Québec, (450) 657-4760, http://www.AVEEQ.org

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Montreal Science Centre

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Quays of the Old Port of Montréal

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