It may have taken a little longer than expected, but last week the inaugural Zero Race finally wound up with the three remaining competitors returning to the United Nations Palace in Geneva, Switzerland where the race got underway in August last year. After 80 driving days, which saw the 100 percent electric vehicles travel some 28,000 km (17,398 miles) across 16 countries through freezing temperatures, snow, rain and heat, Team Oerikon Solar's Zerotracer was the first to cross the finish line, followed by Team Vectrix in second place and Team Trev in third.

Being first across the finish line on February 24, 2011, wasn't the only factor for picking a winner. The Zero Race was actually decided on a points system that took into account a number of additional criteria including range, reliability and safety of the vehicles. The teams were also given tasks to accomplish during the race and the Oerikon Solar Racing Team's good results on these tasks early on helped the Zerotracer move quickly into one of the leading positions.

"It is great that our team was able to win this very demanding race. This shows that emission-free mobility solutions are useful for everyday life even in adverse conditions. The Zerotracer is a real milestone on the path to use solar energy as a form of fuel in an economically viable manner and thus to create a real alternative for the mobile world of tomorrow," said Helmut Frankenberger, the CEO of Oerlikon Solar.

Having completed a round the world trip in 80 (driving) days, the next Zero Emissions Race is now being planned with a route beginning in Venice that will take competitors through 10 European countries before finishing in Vienna two weeks later. All EVs with a range of 150 km (93 miles) at 80 km/h (50 mph) are welcome for the race which will run from September 3 to 25, 2011. More details will be forthcoming at the Zero Emissions Race website.