SolarTaxi arrives in Peking

The Swiss vehicle, which has been driving for nearly a year, is sun and battery powered

Fotogallery Only a third of the journey is missing. Louis Palmer, who has been on a world tour, driving a solar powered vehicle, the SolarTaxi, for nearly a year, has just reached Peking. He is the first man who has travelled half way across the globe with a solar energy powered vehicle. While talking to the Chinese media, Palmer said that he started 325 days ago and since then he and his team have crossed 25 countries without changing any spare part, travelling at a speed of 40 km/h .

To celebrate the Chinese stopover, Palmer metaphorically recharged the batteries in front of the Great Wall and then, before setting out for the last leg of his trip, he visited the stadium of the next Olympic Games, designed by Swiss architects Herzog and De Meuron. Though satisfied for being able to get to Peking, Palmer and his team said that they felt very sad and disturbed when the earthquake hit lots of people in the south-west of China on 12 May. On that day Louis was at the Shanghai Renewable Energy Fair exhibiting the SolarTaxi and he says: “Luckily we were a thousand kilometres away from the area hit by the earthquake but my heart often went out to the victims affected by that disaster.” Anyway, Louis Palmer’s journey has so far been quite smooth.

Since he left Lucerne on July 3rd 2007, solar energy has powered Palmer’s vehicle across eastern Europe, Middle East countries, down to India and finally to Bali where, at the climate conference, the SolarTaxi was welcomed like a star. After clocking up kilometres in Australia the team moved to Singapore and from there to Thailand and China. Next stopover will be South Korea. The SolarTaxi, though, has been prevented from getting into Japan and North Korea, but the journey will go on as far as Canada and the USA and probably, before Christmas 2008, after nearly one and a half year travelling around the world, the SolarTaxi will conclude the tour at Lucerne and there the sun will eventually set on its solar panels.



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