Solar Taxi" all around the world powered by solar power. That took him about 18 months, but he has now moved to things others could do by his side. His latest project was a rally for electric vehicles in Europe. It started in Paris two weeks ago with 20 cars, which arrived in Prague, Czech Republic, on Sunday." />

WAVE: 2,000-Mile Electric Car Rally from Paris to Prague

By · September 26, 2011

Many people would tell you electric cars can't drive long distances, but some people don't listen. They do drive long distances with electric cars. Their leader is Louis Palmer, a Swiss who famously drove a custom made electric car dubbed the "Solar Taxi" all around the world powered by solar power. That took him about 18 months, but he has now moved to things others could do by his side. His latest project was a rally for electric vehicles in Europe. It started in Paris two weeks ago with 20 cars, which arrived in Prague, Czech Republic, on Sunday.

The Wave rally arrival in Prague

The Wave rally arrival in Prague

They didn't use any shortcuts. Driving through Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Austria and finally the Czech Republic, they've covered close to 2,000 miles, in sometimes difficult conditions. The chosen road was through the mighty Grimsel, a Swiss high mountain pass (elevation 7,100 ft) where it was snowing. That's quite a challenge considering that all cars had summer tires, and that some vehicles were very light ones, with skinny low-resistance tires. But everybody went through, even bikers.

Close to the Grimsel pass, in Switzerland

Close to the Grimsel pass, in Switzerland

Participants ranged from normal electric cars like a Tesla Roadster and a Nissan LEAF. There were gas cars converted to electric propulsion, like a Skoda Superb (Camry-sized sedan) and an Audi A2 (aris-sized car), as well as a a couple of Mitsubishi i-MiEV cars. Add these to the list: a very rare factory-built 15-year old Renault Clio, a Think, a Reva and most notably a Horlacher Sport from 20 years ago. Only a handful of these fantastic micro cars were built—barely longer than a Smart, but significantly lower and narrower—with this one probably worthy of entering world record books: it's already logged 150,000 miles (240,000 km). Besides the cars, some guys did it on e-bikes, and yes, they went through the same roads as the cars, covering 130/150 miles each day.

The Horlacher Sport electric micro car with 160,000 miles on the odometer

The Horlacher Sport electric micro car with 160,000 miles on the odometer

This rally wasn't a typical rally. Its name is WAVE, which stands for World Advanced Vehicle Expedition. It's all about sustainable mobility. They're doing it because they can, and that it's important to show others it's possible. All vehicles drove on electric power, coming from 100% renewable sources. Events, happenings, had been planned everyday so that at every stop, locals could have a good look at the cars, and understand what's at stake, how cars can run on electricity, and how it's possible to make green electricity. In Sulz-Röthis, Austria, school children had a fun day judging which was the best car. They also learned a few things. One hope is that they will talk to their parents about it. In Stuttgart, a small seminar about EVs had been organized at the Research Institute of Automotive Engineering and Vehicle Engines Stuttgart (FKFS). It was a good opportunity to inform the students about what EVs can do, and that was important because the students there are expecting to work in the automotive industry.

Charging on the street

Charging on the street

Charging was done everywhere possible, sometimes in closed garages but most often on public places so that passersby could see how undramatic electric cars are. You just plug, that's it. While on the street, drivers were happy to answer all questions about their cars. This is what made the WAVE a success. There wasn't a single winner—though everybody agreed the Nissan LEAF was the best car to ride in. It wasn't a race, but it was a successful demonstration that electric cars can drive cross-country. This is precisely what the world needs: to prove to bystanders that EVs are not a distant dream but a reality for today.

Comments

· Max Reid (not verified) · 2 years ago

Good way to promote EVs. They should start setting up EV charging stations all over.
I wish they launch a small EV just like Japan has Minicars.
http://news.yahoo.com/toyota-adds-first-tiny-minicar-japan-lineup-081613...

· · 2 years ago

I'm interested to learn more about the Horlacher Sport electric micro car -- the shape looks to be fairly aerodynamic, though I can't tell if there is a crisp Kamm back on it, or not.

Also, any information on the average consumption of these vehicles, and / or the best and worst efficiency on this trip?

Neil

· · 2 years ago

I'm not very sure but I think the Horlacher Sport is entirely made of plastic materials. Without the batteries, the whole vehicle weighs less than 400 pounds. They did a few 20 years ago, nowadays I don't think they could get it registered.

No info about electrical consumption, yet. Maybe in a few days?

· · 2 years ago

Wow, when are we going to do something like this in the US?

· · 2 years ago

Just google "Horlacher Sport", the company has extensive info on this and other models they have built.

http://www.horlacher.com/products_services/ev_development/sport_1.htm

Batteries: 2 ZEBRA NaNiCl batteries, 2x60 Ah, 142 V
Drivetrain: BRUSA AMC 300, gt-20 AC-motor, max. power: 21 kW
Energy consumption*: 6 - 9 kWh per 100 km (measured from battery)
max. speed: 120 km/h
Acceleration: 0 - 50 km/h: 8 seconds
max. gradient: 22%
Range*: 250 - 300 km

· · 2 years ago

Thanks for the link. Their site is a little opaque, but here's their EV prototype page:

http://www.horlacher.com/products_services/ev_development/prototypen.htm

Good stuff, in general!

Neil

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