Solar Zerotracer leads first Zero Emissions Race

zerotracer1The Oerlikon Solar Racing Team Zerotracer electric vehicle will soon resume the Zero Emissions Race, a renewable-energy powered EV competition that is taking participants around the world in 80 days. The Zerotracer is currently in first place.

After having their vehicles shipped across the Pacific Ocean, the three remaining participating teams continue their race in Vancouver, Canada on Nov. 12. They head to San Francisco, Los Angeles and Austin, Texas. From there, they pass through Mexico City and arrive in Cancun, Mexico for the United Nations Climate Change Conference.

The Zero Emissions Race began Aug. 16, 2010 at the United Nations office in Geneva. It concludes there on Jan. 22, 2011.

Raising global awareness
Oerlikon is sponsoring a racing team to help raise global awareness about the positive benefits of the renewable energy/electric vehicle combination.

“Our objective in being part of this effort is to demonstrate that a new form of mobility based on solar energy is not only possible, but in fact already suitable for everyday use,” explains Jürg Henz, CEO of Oerlikon Solar.

Before being transported across the Pacific, the Zerotracer arrived in Shanghai leading the race with 165 points out of 190, ahead of the German and Australian teams. So far, the Zerotracer team has won several individual competitions for reliability, acceleration and top speeds.

In North America, the teams will continue to compete and be evaluated for vehicle reliability, energy efficiency, utility to everyday life, and design and safety. Meanwhile, the South Korean team has dropped out of the race due to technical difficulties.

Renewable energy offset powers racers
The Zero Emissions Race is the brainchild of Louis Palmer, the first person to circle the globe in a solar-powered vehicle. Palmer’s aim with the Zero Emissions Race is to present emissions-free mobility solutions. The Zerotracer, sponsored by Oerlikon Solar under the auspices of Cleantech Switzerland, is one of these solutions.

As the main sponsor of the Swiss team, Oerlikon Solar is responsible for generating environmentally friendly solar energy for the Zerotracer. This energy is produced on thin film silicon modules produced with non-toxic materials, and powers the Zerotracer – via solar offsetting — at 2,400 kilowatts/hour (kWh) for the 30,000 kilometres (km) trip around the world.

The Zerotracer is the product of a four-man team of young engineers and designers who work with such vehicles in order to fashion new mobility concepts for tomorrow. With its streamlined, futuristic shape, the Zerotracer is a combination of a car and a motorcycle. The core concept of the Zerotracer is to achieve ultimate efficiency with a unique driving experience, wrapped together in an attractive design package.

Quicker than a Porsche 911
Due to its aerodynamic shape and efficient electric drive train, the Zerotracer is able to accelerate faster than a Porsche 911. It has room for two people, and can hold its own against the world’s fastest cars with acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h in 4.5 seconds.

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The Zerotracer consumes 4 kW when travelling at an average speed of 80 kilometers per hour, resulting in a range of 450 kilometers. The body weighs less than 80 kilograms and is made from Kevlar composite, which is also used in Formula 1 automobile construction.

“The Zerotracer is a perfect example of how electric vehicles can be fun to drive, desirable in design and sporty in performance, all while fighting global warming,” says Henz.

For more information about the Zerotracer, when and where the car might come to a city near you, or Oerlikon Solar’s participation in the Zero Emissions Race, visit, or

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