While technological innovations of the 19th Century opened up the possibility of rapid circumnavigation of the globe and inspired Jules Verne to pen his famous novel, Around the World in Eighty Days, Louis Palmer is hoping a race to circumnavigate the globe in 80 days in zero emission, electric powered cars will harness public interest and inspire new ways of thinking about mobility, cars and renewable energy solutions.
When the starting flag drops on August 15, 2010 in Geneva, contestants in the Zero Race will set off eastwards on a route that will take them a total distance of around 30,000 km (18,641 miles) through 20 countries, with stops in around 150 major cities along the way. This includes a visit to the United Nations World Climate Change Conference in Cancun at the end of November. The organizers expect the event to be completed in 80 days, excluding maritime crossings, finishing up in Geneva in January 2011.
To be eligible for entry, competing vehicles must be able to drive at least 240 km (149 miles) at an average speed of at least 80 km/h (50 mph) and be able to reach a maximum distance of 450 km (280 miles) per day. The vehicles must also recharge in less than four hours and carry at least one passenger. Fully electric motorbikes will also be eligible to enter so long as they are able to travel a distance of at least 120 km (75 miles) on one battery charge.
These criteria include:
The organizers say that there will be a prize-giving event for one of these criteria in a major city on every continent – although just how this is accomplished should be interesting given that the route bypasses Africa, Australia and Antarctica (and South America if that’s your choice of continental model). Anyway, there will be a winner for each category, and one overall Zero Race Winner following the completion of the entire round the world journey.
People will be able to stay up to date with all the action of the race via an official daily blog that will also highlight interesting environmental projects along the Zero Race route. Each participating team will also maintain its own blog throughout the race.
Anyone wishing to throw their electric-powered hat in the ring can still contact the Zero Race organizing team at the Zero Race website - that includes you, Phileas Fogg.
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