"On 3 July 2007 I set off on my first journey around the world with a solar powered vehicle. The solar taxi...should show that every single one of us can take a step towards preserving our planet." Louis Palmer, SolarTaxi Instigator
The bbq in the 'Bu was held out in the Malibu Colony after the SolarTaxi spent the day making friends and fans at the Malibu Arts Festival. Locals attending included Brian Grazer, James Cameron, Larry Hagman, and wife of Universal Studios President, Kelly Meyer.
Larry Hagman (of Who Shot J.R. fame) is a big believer in solar power. "Before I installed solar panels on my roof in 2005, my electricity bill was $37,000. The next year, 2006, my entire electric bill was $13.00. I went off-grid," Hagman told Greening Hollywood at the bbq in Malibu Colony.
According to Erik Schmitt, SolarTaxi videographer and Thomas Gottschalk, team mechanic, China has proved so far to be the most receptive country to the SolarTaxi and the concept of solar-powered vehicles. China is cornering the market on cheap silicon production which is what's used to manufacture solar cells. Silicon is made from sand.
Also mentioned by the solar sojourners was that Japan did not allow them entry, due to some archaic law about Swiss license plates still on the books. India has 80,000 deaths from traffic accidents each year. And Saudi Arabia finally issued them visas, from the King himself, to allow them to drive across the country albeit with a police escort the entire way!
How It Works
The solar cells that trail the vehicle on the flatbed behind the car produce enough electricity to travel up to 100 km a day.
When they need to drive more than 100 km a day, they charge their ZEBRA battery with additional solar power. Their solar power plant lives on a rooftop in Berne, Switzerland.
The electricity created by these rooftop solar panels in Berne is fed into the grid, offsetting electricity generated by using fossil fuels. "It's like paying money into a bank account and withdrawing the money somewhere else: We feed solar electricity into the grid and charge it into our battery anywhere in the world, from the grid. If all cars in the world were powered this way, cars wouldn't cause global warming!" says Louis Palmer.
The Solartaxi proves it's possible to drive 15,000 km a year powered by 9 square yards of solar cells on a rooftop.
The Solartaxi is a lightweight vehicle, about the size of a SmartCar.
* Ecology: Zero CO2 emission!
* A new energy solution provides independence: 6m2 solar cells on a rooftop yield power for 15,000 km per year!
* 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 thailer)
* Energy efficient: Consumption of 8 kWh/100 km (equivalent of 0.8 l petrol / 100 km)