Taxi Powered by the Sun Arrives in Bali

solar-taxi.jpgNUSA DUA ~ A Swiss taxi that runs solely on solar power arrived in Bali this week, as part of a world tour offering a solution to global warming, tour director Louis Palmer told The Bali Times.

So far, the taxi has traveled more than 13,000 kilometers across 17 countries in five months on solar batteries, with power generated from solar panels and an electricity grid.

“We began the tour from Lucerne, Switzerland on July 3 this year. Our aim is to travel 50,000 kilometers through 50 countries worldwide. This trip will end in Lucerne, one year from now,” said 35-year-old Palmer.

In 2004, Palmer, who was a schoolteacher at the time, decided that he would attempt to present a CO2-free car as a solution for global warming and teamed with Technical University Lucerne and HTA Lucerne (school of engineering and architecture) to build a solar vehicle to survive a world trip.

“It took three years and the price of two Ferraris to build a prototype of the solar taxi. But that’s how much every car should cost for their first prototype.

“When it starts to be mass produced, the production cost will be greatly reduced and it will be available for as little as Rp100 million (US$10,763) per car.”

Said Palmer, the solar taxi can run up to 200 kilometers on battery power after a 6-hour charging.

“I drive 350 kilometers per day with an average speed of 50 kilometers an hour. This car has run well from the start. It’s like a Swiss clock; we haven’t changed any spare-parts before. Not even the tires, because it’s light.”

Passing through countries, Palmer said he uses the opportunity to teach locals about the problem of global warming and the solutions.

“The team and I visit students in high schools and meet the media in every country we visit. We carry a message that a solution is available for global warming problem. People have always responded to us.”

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