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“On 3 July 2007 I set off on my first journey around the world with a solar powered vehicle. Admittedly, as a regular citizen I cannot change the world but I can demonstrate to the world just how dire the global climate situation has become and how many sophisticated solutions to lower the greenhouse gases already exist, which bring with them many other advantages. So that we can have a better world and a more secure future. The solar taxi should rekindle hope and a zest for life, set an example to counteract resignation and stimulate reflection. And show that every single one of us can take a step towards preserving our planet.”
- Freedom: To drive up to 400 km with the latest ZEBRA battery technology.
- Max. speed: 90 km/h
- Light weight: 500 kg (+ 250 kg for trailer)
- Energy efficient: Consumption of 8 kWh/100 km (equivalent of 0.8 l petrol / 100 km)
While the Solartaxi uses electricity from 100% renewable energy and releases no emissions into the atmosphere, Palmer notes it's able to draw only half of its power from its trailer of high-efficiency Q-Cells solar cells.
For the other 50%, solar cells on top of Palmer's home in Switzerland collect power that's eventually fed into an international power grid. In exchange, Palmer can plug into power sockets along his route to take as much as he contributes to the grid.
"A solar car is a perfect way of transportation," said Palmer, noting that even today's hybrid cars cut gasoline use by 20%, while solar cars are 100% gasoline-free.
When asked what the cost would be to have such a car complete with the home charging system, Palmer said that it can be mass-produced for about $10,000. He said solar panels sufficient for powering the car would be as little as $10,000.
"The technology is available now and affordable," Palmer stressed.
Palmer, when asked the question, confirmed he met with the General Motors team that is developing the Volt electric car for GM.
"We were very well received by GM," Palmer said. "We have no enemies there."