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About Solartaxi

Welcome to the first world tour of a vehicle powered only by solar energy!

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Gottschalk Thomas


Gottschalk Thomas
technical supporter during the whole trip
The world needs renewable energies.

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A great welcome in Xinyu05.05.2008

Tags: China       Comments: 0

Dead-straight highways and kilometres of tunnels cut through the brilliant green Chinese mountain landscape, making the Swiss and the Germans feel right at home. The rice paddies with their old graves, the Chinese villages, the herons and water buffalos, are all barely visible from the road.

My team is bored on the highway, so while our tour guide James sits with me in the Solar Taxi, they keep driving off to get groups of singing children together in markets, film roadside scenes, and set up spontaneous film sets in villages and rice fields and along the roads. The villagers enjoy it all and there is lots of laughter, despite the considerable communication problems. Sometimes you get the feeling that the Solar Taxi team is really a travelling theatre.

Our destination is the city of Xinyu, where we are heartily welcomed by the LDK company in a lovely lakeside hotel. LDK is working on becoming the world leader in manufacturing silicon for solar cells and has been successfully launched on the New York stock exchange. LDK is also sponsoring the Chinese leg of our journey and is a supplier of our main sponsors, Q-Cells. The company is only 3 years old but is already building a factory that will cover 1/3 of the global demand for silicon wafers, so they’re very interested in expanding solar technology. The Solar Taxi team is offered only the best programme of events and introduced to the city’s most important people, sitting down to breakfast with movers and shakers from the city authorities, the Party, and LDK’s board of directors.
Our feeling on the first day that we’re being treated like guests of state becomes a certainty next morning. The police arrive early to escort us to the university. Sirens wail and the traffic police clear the intersections and thus we travel through the city all day. After a presentation at a college on a Sunday (400 students have come to school today especially to see us!) we are escorted into the city, where the Solar Taxi is led over a red carpet accompanied by ladies in traditional Chinese gowns. We are received by the mayor and by Party, military, and business leaders. Marching bands, balloons, and confetti canons all make the Solar Taxi part of pop culture. The crowd cheers and listens patiently to their leaders’ exaltations of China’s sunny future. Everyone is taking photos of the Solar Taxi with their phones. Unfortunately only a few get to enjoy a ride with us.

The day ends with a visit to LDK’s high-tech factory. LDK’s CEO Sam, who studied in the USA, says, "We want to maintain our current growth rate. In the past 2 years we have employed 8,000 people. Within 3 years LDK has become No.2 in this sector." Hopefully LDK will keep concentrating on solar energy and growing quickly. It can’t be a coincidence that LDK stocks went up by +7% on the stock exchange today.

We recall Deng Xiaoping, who said in his speech introducing the market economy, "Poverty is not socialism. The goal of socialism is to abolish poverty". We would change this into, "Exploitation of the Earth is not civilisation; rather, the goal of civilisation is to end the exploitation of the Earth."


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