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West Philly High Team Wins Award In National 2005 Tour de Sol
Victory Saves School’s Automotive Academy
Greenfield, MA – May 23, 2005 – The head of the Philadelphia School District has spared West Philadelphia High School’s Automotive Academy from the budget-cutting axe after a team of students from the inner-city school won an award during the National 2005 Tour de Sol, held May 13-16 in Saratoga Springs and Albany, NY. “That program is not going to be touched,” Paul Vallas, the school district’s chief executive, told the Philadelphia Daily News. “If anything, it might be expanded.”
Two student teams, the one from West Philly High and another from Western Washington University in Bellingham, WA, took top honors with their purpose-built hybrid vehicles, which use biodiesel instead of gasoline and produce 85% less climate-change emissions compared to a conventional 27-miles-per-gallon gas car. The other top-placing team in this category was from Quebec Advanced Transportation Institute in Saint-Jerome, Quebec.
During the National 2005 Tour de Sol – the 17th annual sustainable-energy and transportation festival and competition -- over 60 hybrid, electric and biofuel vehicles from throughout the U.S. and Canada demonstrated that we have the technology today to power our transportation system with zero-oil consumption and zero climate-change emissions. Each vehicle showed new ways to reduce our dependence on foreign oil while reducing harmful pollutants.
Thousands of people came to see the vehicles and talk with the people participating in the three exciting competitions held during the National 2005 Tour de Sol. There were 41 entrants in the new Monte Carlo-style Rally, with several participating in the Rally’s 100 MPG Challenge.
The E-bike and NEV Competition attracted over a dozen vehicles ranging from recumbent electric tricycles, to electric bicycles, and 4-wheeled /4-passenger NEVs (neighborhood electric vehicles). What all these vehicles have in common is that they run on electricity and are designed to meet our needs for local “around town” trips. The incredible efficiency of these lightweight vehicles truly demonstrates what can be achieved in the field of fuel efficiency.
In addition to the vehicles participating in the National 2005 Tour de Sol, there were over 30 displays from auto, bus and NEV manufacturers, and business and government leaders, all working together to produce clean transportation solutions for the U.S., Canada and beyond. Displays included: Toyota’s hybrid Prius, Highlander SUV and Lexus RX 400h; Honda’s three hybrid sedans -- Insight, Civic, and Accord -- its natural-gas Civic GX, and the FCX, one of its 30 hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles; natural-gas, propane and hybrid buses and trucks; emission-reduction technologies for new ceramic brakes; biodiesel suppliers; and lithium-battery manufacturers.
Monte Carlo-style Rally & 100 MPG Challenge
The Monte Carlo-style Rally was created this year to offer advanced-vehicle owners the opportunity to demonstrate what their vehicles (production-line or modified) can deliver as well as to compete for up to $10,000 in prizes. To compete for the 100 MPG Challenge, entrants began at one of the 11 official starting sites around the U.S. and Canada and were required to drive a minimum of 500 miles, averaging at least 100 MPG, to Stewart’s Shops in Saratoga Springs, NY. Unfortunately, no entrant achieved the 100 MPG goal this year. Other entrants traveled a minimum of 150 miles to Saratoga Springs, for other prizes. Key Monte Carlo-style Rally organizers were the Automotive Career Development Center in Worcester, MA, and the Center for Technology Commercialization in Westboro, MA, with Stewart’s Shops and biodiesel supplier Environmental Alternatives in Brooklyn, NY, providing the fuel for all the entries.
The E-bike and NEV (neighborhood electric vehicle) competition was created last year by RunAbout Cycles in Sunderland, MA. E-bike and NEV manufacturers, distributors, entrepreneurs, hobbyists and students are invited to participate in this two-day event. This year, over a dozen entrants went through technical specification checks, displayed their vehicles and participated in a range events of one, two or three hours.
Over a half million consumers have visited the Tour de Sol since its creation in 1989 by the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association and over 40 million print- and electronic-media exposures accrue annually from the Tour. The Tour de Sol provides a key platform for vehicle manufacturers, students and entrepreneurs to demonstrate future designs and current products that aim to reduce oil and carbon emissions to zero. The event provides news media the opportunity to provide timely and topical updates on the status of sustainable energy and mobility. This year, over a dozen teams participated in the Tour de Sol Championship, which began in 1989. This event aims to inspire students and businesses to design, build, showcase and use concept vehicles that push the envelope and work toward the ultimate goal of the Tour de Sol.
Premier Sponsors of the National 2005 Tour de Sol are the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and the Center for Technology Commercialization. Key Sponsors are the U.S. Department of Energy, the New York Power Authority, Toyota Motor Corp., the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, New York State Parks, American Honda Motor Co., Environmental Alternatives, the Electric Drive Transportation Association, the Automotive Career Development Center and the Federal Highway Administration.
The Northeast Sustainable Energy Association, the nation's leading regional education and advocacy association, is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization. NESEA aims to accelerate the deployment and use of renewable energy and energy efficiency by producing major sustainable-energy events that inspire and motivate large numbers of people to get involved and make a difference.
For more information on all of the winners in the National 2005 Tour de Sol, visit www.TourDeSol.org or contact NESEA at 413.774.6051.
NOTE TO ALL MEDIA: All National 2005 Tour de Sol results as well as photos are available upon request.