In most races, drivers are aiming for the big numbers–like, say, 150 miles per hour, or ten gazillion dollars in prize money. This race–planned to actually circumnavigate the globe–is going for the smallest possible number: zero (as in, emissions).
Of course, there are some pretty big numbers involved with the Zero Race, as well–specifically, 18,641 miles, through 20 countries, with 150 major cities along the way–all under taken by electric vehicles, solar cars, and other green vehicles. The starting flag drops on this “race around the world” on August 15th of this year in Geneva; organizers expect the circuit to be completed in 80 days, excluding maritime crossings, finishing up in Geneva in January 2011. According to Gizmag, the event is being directed by Louis Palmer, the first man to circumnavigate the globe in a solar car.
The Zero Race also has a handle on the big picture, in terms of carbon emissions–meaning that entrants can’t simply claim zero-emissions status because they’re running an electric engine; they have to generate the electricity used from clean sources, as well. Prizes for vehicles in the following categories will be awarded in different major cities along the route: Reliability (based on vehicle performance assessed by the number of breakdowns or repairs needed during the Zero Race), Power and Speed (based on acceleration and range capacity to complete the Zero Race track, as evaluated by a panel of race car drivers), Energy Efficiency (based on assessments by vehicle manufacturers and other experts), Affordability of the vehicle for the general public, Safety (based on evaluations by transport engineers), and Design Popularity (based on opinion polls by spectators and the general public along the way).