A Swiss team riding a futuristic two-seater electric motorbike has won an epic 80-day round-the-world no-emissions race that ended in Geneva on Thursday.
The Zero Race, organised by Swiss teacher Louis Palmer who in 2008 circumnavigated the globe in a solar taxi, was intended to raise awareness about climate change, mobility and renewable energy.
“We made it,” shouted Swiss globetrotter, Tobias Wuelser, team leader of the victorious Zerotracer bike punching the air while riding up the “Aisle of Flags” at the United Nations headquarters in Geneva.
“The vehicle runs; it was really amazing we didn’t have a single breakdown, there is electricity everywhere. It was a great adventure,” his teammate Frank Loaker told swissinfo.ch.
In August 2010 the Zerotracer and three other teams – from Australia, Germany and South Korea – set off from Geneva on the 30,000-kilometre Jules Verne-inspired race that aimed to be carbon-emission free.
The South Koreans had to abandon the race after only 1,000km, but the three others continued their way stopping off in 150 cities.
“We wanted to show that these vehicles are reliable and really work, and that’s what we have achieved,” Palmer told swissinfo.ch.
Each vehicle was charged from regular power outlets along the way. To compensate, solar and wind plants set up by the competitors in their home countries fed the same amount of electricity - or more - into their national grids.
The race involved 80 days on the road, each day covering 500km, and two months on the high seas, as the vehicles were shipped between continents.
Palmer is already planning his next electric race: a two-week event across Europe in September 2011 with around 20 participants.