Tour De Sol results ~ Hybrid Car Review
Hybrid Car Review: Tour De Sol results

Monday, May 15, 2006

Tour De Sol results

There's just too much in the press release to discuss in one post:

Press release from: NESEA-NorthEast Sustainable Energy Association

Tour De Sol, America’s #1 Green Car Show and Competition, Demonstrates How to Reduce Oil Use and Climate Change Emissions By Over 100%

Tour De Sol Winners Announced

(CSRwire) GREENFIELD, MA—The results are in – and over 50 light duty vehicles competing in the Tour de Sol, America’s #1 green car show and competition "driving toward zero carbon emissions" demonstrated their ability of reducing oil use and climate change emissions by over 100%, compared to conventional vehicles that achieve the 27 mpg CAFÉ standard for light duty vehicles.

Held May 10-14 at the Saratoga Spa State Park and Saratoga Automobile Musuem in Saratoga Springs, NY, the Tour de Sol featured entrants in three separate competitions who turned in spectacular results and took home trophies and $10,000 in cash prizes. Using many energy efficiency techniques, and in some cases switching to less carbon intensive fuels such as compressed natural gas, biodiesel, vegetable oil, or electricity and hydrogen from clean renewable sources, the entrants demonstrated an average of 66 mpg, 140% above the current CAFÉ standard, and reductions in climate change emissions of 130%.

Wayne Gerdes of Illinois, West Philadelphia High School of Philadelphia, PA, Greasecar Vegetable Fuel System, of Easthampton, MA, Burlington County Electecs of Lawrenceville, NJ and Optibike of Bolder, CO took top honors.

"For auto enthusiasts and environmentalists these are tremendously exciting results," said Nancy Hazard of the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association (NESEA), organizer of the Tour de Sol. "This demonstrates what is possible today and that we can do even better in the near future. We must work together and continue to develop vehicles that aim to cut oil use and climate change emissions to zero."

"We have been very impressed with the innovative technologies demonstrated by the vehicles participating in the Tour de Sol," said Peter R. Smith, President and CEO of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, premier sponsor of the event. "NYSERDA is pleased to have brought the Tour de Sol to New York State to showcase how we can lessen our dependence on foreign energy sources, and control our own energy destiny."

In the Monte Carlo style Rally, Gerdes drove a stock Insight from Chicago on a single tank of gas achieving 90.4 mpg and captured the grand prize of the Monte Carlo-style fuel efficiency Championship. Two other interesting independent teams, Jack Lee from Venice, FL and Willy Williford from Campo, CA, had added TurboChargers to their Honda Insights, which have a 57 mpg EPA rating. Jack Lee’s vehicle demonstrated over 76 mpg.

Perhaps the most interesting entry in the Monte Carlo Rally was a modified Honda Insight employing Plug-In charging and Integrated Motor Assist, and a 5th wheel powered by an electric motor for faster electric startup. This unique vehicle, driven by Mike Dabrowski of North Grosvenordale, CT. achieved an overall performance of 82.49 mpg and took 3 awards, including the top "Plug-In Hybrid" Award.

Additionally, HyMotion, from Concord, Ontario, Canada, showed one of the most interesting commercial options that could take hybrid technology to the next level. HyMotion’s PHEV (Plug-in Hybrid Vehicle) kit is designed to convert a Toyota Prius or Ford Hybrid Escape into a hybrid vehicle that can drive in electric-only mode for 20 miles, and plug into an electrical outlet for recharging. The advantage of such a vehicle is that, in normal use where daily driving is often between 20-40 miles, it could reduce gasoline use by 50- 80%, and shift its motive energy to electricity from the Grid that can be produced by zero-carbon renewable energy sources such as wind and solar.

In the alternative fuel division of the Monte Carlo-style Rally, Homeland Energy Resources Development drove a Honda GX that runs on compressed natural gas and has been cited as the "cleanest car on earth." Greasecar Vegetable Fuel Systems entered an Austin Mini Clubman converted with their kit to run on 100% vegetable oil. Eastern Biofuels, the largest biodiesel supplier in the Northeast, refueled the biodiesel-powered vehicles. The Gavin Watson team received a cash prize from the National Biodiesel Board for taking first place in this division with a 1973 Porsche 914 powered by 100% soybean oil that got 53 mpg and reduced climate change emissions by 87% compared to a conventional 27-mpg vehicle.

"We were thrilled with these performances," said Jim Dunn, CEO of the Center for Technology Commercialization, Monte Carlo-style Rally sponsor. "Over twenty teams entered conventional hybrid cars and demonstrated their ability to exceed the EPA mpg standards in every case – and the modified hybrids turned in spectacular results."

Sixteen teams entered the Tour de Sol Championship this year. This competition challenges entrants to build one-of-a-kind highway-worthy vehicles that aim to reduce oil use and climate change emissions to zero. West Philadelphia High School took top honors in the student Hybrid and Alternative fuel division. Their purpose-built sports car that can accelerate from 0 to 60 in 5.5 seconds achieved a fuel efficiency of 55 mpg. The Greasecar Mad Mini team carried the day in the independent division with Mini Cooper Clubman with Greasecar Vegetable Fuel System kit installed so that it could run on 100% vegetable oil.

In the battery electric division, EVermont, from Waterbury, VT demonstrated incredible fuel efficiency of electric vehicles with over 160 MPGe, while the Burlington Electecs of Lawrenceville, NJ took top honors with a student-built electric vehicle. In the Solar-Assisted electric division, the West Irondequoit took top honors in the one-person category, and St. Mark’s School, Southborough, MA, took top honors in the two-person category. St. Mark’s and the North Haven Community School from North Haven, ME tied for the "Renewablity Prize," demonstrating zero climate change emissions. St. Marks purchased green electricity from their local utility to run their car, while North Haven added solar panels to their school to generate electricity to run their car.

Another unique team, which traveled from Delhi College in Delhi India to the Tour de Sol, showcased a one-person hybrid vehicle. Their vehicle demonstrated the importance of designing a vehicle to suit its use. This vehicle was designed to address the transportation needs of millions of people in India that presently use highly polluting motorcycles by presenting them with a practical, very efficient hybrid option.

"We saw lots of innovative ideas in these one-of-a-kind vehicles that students and independent teams brought this year," said Dr. Robert Wills, technical director of the Tour de Sol Championship. "As in the past, we hope to see many of these technologies on the showroom floor in the near future – helping to clean the air we breathe and reduce carbon emission."

The new Around Town Vehicle Competition grew to eleven entries this year. This competition challenges entrants to design motorized vehicles that could replace the conventional car in our communities with zero carbon emission vehicles.

In the production division both Optibike and RunAbout Cycles attracted much attention. Optibike, of Bolder, CO, demonstrated an amazing range of 104 miles in less than four hours on its electric bicycle, Optibike 400, which uses lithium batteries. In the independent and student divisions there were four entries using lithium batteries and two using lead acid batteries.

In the neighborhood electric vehicle division, competition was fierce with three GEMs entered - one from the Southern Berkshire Regional School, Sheffield, MA and two from the Saratoga Spa State Park, Saratoga Springs, NY. All of the vehicles drove over 20 miles with conventional lead acid batteries and received a cash prize from the Advanced Lead Acid Battery Consortium for their achievements. The Berkshire school also brought an amazing educational trailer with wind and solar demonstrations. Lastly Newburgh Free Academy, New Windsor, NY, entered several interesting non-road vehicles.

"We were thrilled to see the Around Town Vehicle Competition grow this year," said Paul O’Brien of the Southern Berkshire Regional School District, creator of the new NEV competition rules. "This kind of a project is affordable and a great teaching tool. It involves research, problem solving, teamwork, computer and hands-on experience, and it creates awareness about our energy and environmental challenges and possible solutions in the transportation sector."

Premier sponsors of the 2006 Tour de Sol were the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and the Center for Technology Commercialization. Additional key sponsors included the New York Power Authority, the Saratoga Automobile Museum, Stewart’s Shops, New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation, Eastern Biofuels, New York Department of Environmental Conservation, Toyota, the UK Trade & Investment, Honda, Kurkoski Solar Electric, Westboro Toyota, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, E-The Environmental Magazine, EIN Publishing, and

The Northeast Sustainable Energy Association, organizer of the Tour de Sol, is the Northeast’s leading organization of professionals and concerned citizens working in sustainable energy, and whole systems thinking. NESEA facilitates the widespread adoption and use of sustainable energy by providing support to industry professionals and by educating and motivating consumers to learn about, ask for and adopt sustainable-energy and green-building practices. NESEA accomplishes this through conferences, K-12 educational resources, its members and chapters, its Sustainable Yellow Pages, and public events.

To find out more about the Tour de Sol:

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