Zero-emission vehicles finish 17,000-mile race

An 80-day, 17,000-mile electric car road race has ended in Geneva, with three of the original four entrants reaching the finishing line.

The word ‘race’ is something of a misnomer – the Zero Emissions Race didn’t declare an outright winner. And the 80 days isn’t strictly accurate, either, as it only counts the driving time – there was an awful lot of time spent charging the vehicles (and possibly eating fondue).

“All the three teams set out with a lot of excitement from Le Bourget du Lac, and as they crossed the border of Switzerland, the feeling turned a little nervous as it started to snow! So, on the last day of the Zero Race, the teams drove to Geneva in real winter conditions!” says organiser Dr Julianna Priskin.

“But they did well, as they arrived punctually. On the minute at 11am exactly, in honour of completing the Zero Emissions Race, the gates of United Nations Palace opened again.”

All three cars are electric, and fueled from renewable sources. They’ve been supplied with either solar- or wond-generated electricity from power plants in each team’s home country.

One looks more like a motorcycle, one like a covered motorbike and one like a bubble car. Under the rules, each had to be capable of carrying two people, with a range of at least 155 miles.

The four teams – from Australia, Germany, Switzerland and South Korea – have had testing times during the trip. Indeed, the South Korean team was forced to pull out altogether in the early stages because of mechanical problems.

But the remaining three cars have taken their drivers from Geneva through Europe, after which they were shipped to Vancouver, and drove down through the US and Mexico. From there, they sailed to Morocco, then traveled back up through western Europe to finish where they started.