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Swiss offers free solar taxi rides in New York

Swiss solar energy pioneer Louis Palmer is offering free rides in his Solartaxi in Manhattan this week.

He arrived in New York on Tuesday, having already driven his solar-powered vehicle 43,000 kilometres across Europe, Asia, Australasia and the United States without using a drop of petrol.

During his trip he has given lifts to a number of prominent people, including New York mayor Michael Bloomberg and Titanic film director James Cameron. On Friday he is to take UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon to work.

Palmer’s two-seater, three-wheeled Solartaxi consists of a solar vehicle and trailer with solar cells. Fifty per cent of the energy it uses comes from the solar cells on the trailer; the other 50 per cent is accessed via power sockets en route.

It has a range of 400 km and can achieve a speed of up to 90 kph.

The vehicle was designed by Switzerland’s two federal institutes of technology in cooperation with private partners.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR