The Zerotracer featuring solar thin-film modules from Oerlikon Solar.
The Zerotracer featuring solar thin-film modules from Oerlikon Solar.

Oerlikon Solar, the main sponsor of the Swiss Zerotracer solar powered electric vehicle, says the teams, which aim to race around the world in 80 days, will head from Canada to San Francisco, Los Angeles, Austin, through Mexico City to Cancun.

“The goal of the race for Oerlikon Solar is to spread the message that there is progress in innovation for more efficient and sustainable mobility for the future,” says Jürg Henz, CEO of Oerlikon Solar.

“Powered by the electricity generated from Oerlikon Solar’s innovative Swiss engineering thin-film silicon solar technology, the Zerotracer is a perfect example of how electric vehicles can be fun to drive, desirable in design and sporty in performance, all while fighting global warming.”

The race

The Zero Emissions Race is held under the auspices of the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) to present emissions-free mobility solutions, and began on 16 August at the UN office in Geneva. The race will pass through 16 countries and more than 150 cities. It will conclude on 22 January, 2011 in Geneva.

The solar vehicle

The Zerotracer features Oerlikon Solar’s thin-film silicon modules powering the solar vehicle at 2.4 MWh for the 30,000 km trip around the world.

The vehicle is a combination of a car and a motorcycle, and is said to accelerate faster than a Porsche 911 with an acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h in 4.5 seconds.

It can hold two people and consumes 4 kW when travelling at an average speed of 80 km/h, giving it a range of 450 km.

The solar electric vehicle weighs less than 80 kg and is made from Kevlar composite.

Henz adds: “Our objective in being part of this effort is to demonstrate that a new form of mobility based on solar energy is not only possible, but in fact already suitable for everyday use.”