Hybrids Got Sol

Dozens of “green” vehicles have crossed the finish line after a grueling real-world road test from Washington, D.C. to New York City. This year’s results from the Tour de Sol, the Great American Green Transportation Festival, show how much these advanced technology vehicles – many of them already on the market – are ready for prime time. Affordable and comfortable, they can cut our country’s energy use and our greenhouse gas emissions at the same time.

NEW YORK, New York – May 22, 2002 [SolarAccess.com] Among the many awards in a number of categories, some of the most coveted from the Tour de Sol are the “Greenest Vehicle” awards given to the vehicles that demonstrate high-energy efficiency (miles per gallon) and low greenhouse gas emissions. This year’s prize for the greenest light duty vehicle in the Production Division was actually awarded to two, equally performing vehicles: a Honda Insight entered by a team named “Drive To Work” from Bedminster, New Jersey and a Toyota Prius entered by S&S Auto Sports of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Both of these hybrid-electric vehicles demonstrated an average of 55 miles per gallon over the 300 mile course and a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by more than 55 percent compared to the average new car on the road today. In the Prototype Division the prize for greenest light duty vehicle went to West Philadelphia High School whose battery-electric Saturn achieved the equivalent of 180 miles per gallon fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas reduction of nearly 80 percent. Overall, the Greenest Vehicle Award went to the Climate Cooler II, an electric powered motor scooter entered by a joint team from the United Nations Environmental Program and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. This vehicle demonstrated the equivalent of 280 miles per gallon fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas reduction of more than 85 percent compared to new vehicles averages. A number of the vehicles participating in the Tour de Sol this year are already on the market including the new Honda Civic Hybrid, the Honda Insight hybrid, the Toyota Prius hybrid, the DaimlerChrysler GEM electric vehicle, Advanced Vehicle Systems AVS22 hybrid bus, and TH!NK City from Ford. Many other Tour de Sol vehicles are one-of-a-kind prototypes that give us a preview of the types of fuels and energy efficient cars, trucks, and scooters we may see available in coming years. “The greatest news from the Tour this year is that these cleaner vehicles are out there on the market and folks can buy them right away,” said Nancy Hazard, organizer of the Tour. “Tens of thousands of people came out to see the vehicles during our weeklong series of festivals and many of them came away with an interest in owning one of these new cars.” Other top finishers in the prototype division include: Hybrid, Team Paradyne from the University of Tulsa; Battery Electric, Sojourner 1 from West Philadelphia High School; Two Person Solar, Solar Black Bear from the University of Maine; One Person Solar, (tie) Zodiac from the West Irondequoit High School in New York and SunPacer from Cato-Meridian High School in New York; One Person, La Clean Machine from Personal Electric Transports in Hawaii; and Hydrogen, Electric Blue from the Eco Living Fellowship in New Jersey.
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