The Idea

Dear Visitors

Like so many other things, the Solartaxi also began with a childhood dream. In 1986 - I was just 14 years old - I dreamed of driving around the world with a car on one day, which doesn't destroy the earth at the same time - with a solar car! Between 1994 and 2001, when I travelled through five continents, I experienced the first signs of global warming in front of my eyes: In Africa, there were droughts like never seen before. In South America the rain was falling at an all-time high. In Afghanistan, dryness and hunger prevailed like at no time before.

Thereupon I decided, not to wait 20 more years, until anyone creates a car, which doesn't emit any CO2. I decided to build it on my own. With this round-the-world-trip, I'd like to demonstrate, that there are solutions against global warming. As a well travelled man and a teacher, I didn't have any clue, how to construct such a solar vehicle, of course. Due to the help of the Technical University Lucerne, the HTA Lucerne, four students started to build a solar vehicle, which was supposed to survive a world trip. Their names were Tobias Berchtold, Michael Fischer, Martin Kneubühler and Beat Schmid.

At the same time Roger Zehnder launched the construction of the trailer at the ETH Zurich. In March 2005, first designs were done and some more companies had agreed to help me: The MES DEA S.A. in Stabio delivered two ZEBRA high energy batteries, Servax Drives gave me the engine, Rockwell Automation provided the steering and from Alu Menziken I received the aluminium. In the end, Schindler Apprenticeship in Ebikon accepted their trainees building the vehicle. Thus made a car happen, consisting of almost 100% Swiss-made assemblies.

In February 2006, the first test drives took place on the airfield Buochs. The vehicle achieved a top speed of 80 km/h, but it didn't have neither a body nor any brakes. At the same time, the four students of the University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland - Peter Buehrer, Lukas Vonarburg, Alfred Surbeck and Joerg Mettler - made a proposal, how the Solartaxi could look like. So I started to build a casing for the solar taxi, together with Richard Chrenko, who is an engineer for space technology and the boatbuilder Gerold Bucher.

In June 2006, the Solartaxi passed the road worthy certificate at the first go. After that it had to manage 16,000 m difference to altitude (over the Gotthard's, Furka's and Lukmanier's pass) and a test drive from Switzerland to Barcelona and back. After having the certainty, the Solartaxi is able to survive a journey around the world, one more year of preparations ensued in the new home base at the Technopark, Lucerne.

On July, 3rd, 2007 the Solartaxi left for it's world trip.

After all, I have to express my thanks to the more than 200 helpers, who made this adventure possible! Stay tuned and watch the travel online by using the daily blogs!

Cordially yours,

Louis Palmer