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The 14th gathering of alternative transportation enthusiasts, known as
the Tour de Sol: The Great American Green Transportation Festival, is
scheduled for the 12th through the 18th of May, which is also National
Transportation Week and during Clean Air Month. Once again, the clan
will bring together many variations on the theme of energy efficient
and Earth-friendly transportation. The field will include "for sale"
vehicles as well as of the one-of-a-kind vehicles that reflect the
variety and originality of thinking presented at the Tour de Sol every
year since 1989. The Tour has grown into the largest sustainable
transportation event in the world, including options such as walking,
biking, and mass transportation. Features this year will include
Honda's Civic Hybrid making its on-road debut as the pace car for the
rally, DaimlerChrysler showing its Natrium fuel cell concept van, and
Advanced Vehicle Systems displaying an electric-drive bus. And just
think, not so many years ago these were technologies were being
demonstrated in research vehicles at the Tour de Sol.

Central to the Festival will be the Road Rally for which the Tour de
Sol is famous. In the past, the Tour has featured solar-electric and
battery-electric scooters, motorcycles, cars, vans, trucks and buses,
research hybrid-electric vehicles of many stripes, using many
different fuels and technologies, including the first fuel-cells every
used in open-road competition. Everything from personal designs,
through vehicles built at schools and colleges, through current
commercial offerings, and futuristic dreams still taking form will be
on display and in competition.

The Festival is actually 6 Festivals along the Road Rally route from
Washington DC to New York City. Each stop will have its own feel and
features. For example, a weekend festival at Baltimore MD's Inner
Harbor will be the kick-off event and host the pre-rally testing. The
official rally start will be the Capital Mall in Washington DC. It
will then stop at Sandy Point State Park, Maryland, Philadelphia's
City Hall, and Trenton's State Museum and Library. Finally, the
weekend New York City's Hudson River Park festival will fly the Finish
Line banner. Each festival will offer its own unique mix of exhibits,
food, and entertainment.

Nancy Hazard, director of the Tour de Sol, is excited by the many
green transportation and energy options that are now available to the
general public. "We worked so many years towards what is happening
today. It is tremendously exciting to showcase quality hybrid
vehicles that are for sale, such as the Honda Insight, Honda Civic
Hybrid, and Toyota Prius. We first saw hybrid technologies at the
Tour de Sol 8 years ago. The public demand now keeps these cars on
constant backorder. And the DaimlerChrysler GEM neighborhood vehicle,
which grew out of many experimental battery-electric vehicles, is now
a successful niche-market product."

Linking the Festivals together is the famous Tour de Sol Road Rally,
which this year attracts teams from as far away as San Diego, Canada,
Oklahoma and Maine. Some entries are old favorites with the habit of
improving year-to-year. Others are first-timers bringing new ideas
and fresh interpretations on the idea of energy efficient vehicles.
The contestants will run between the festival sites and then be on
public display. The teams always have interesting stories to tell,
and children particularly enjoy talking to the school entries. Not a
few kids got their first look at an electric car at the Tour de Sol
and then went on to produce entrants while in high school or college.

Details of the events can be found at NESEA's web site:

Your humble reporter will once again be there capturing the stories
behind the teams and vehicles in this series of reports. I'll also
be serving as announcer during the Road Rallies.

The entire set of Tour de Sol Reports will be available at: ... index.html

- - - -
The complete set of Tour de Sol Reports for 2002 can be found at:
The complete set of past Tour de Sol Reports can be found at:
- - - -
The above is Copyright 2002 by Michael H. Bianchi.
Permission to copy is granted provided the entire article is presented
without modification and this notice remains attached.
For other arrangements, contact me at +1-973-822-2024 .
- - - -
For more on the NESEA Tour de Sol, see the web page at
- - - -
Official NESEA Tour de Sol information is available from the sponsor,
the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association (NESEA) at
413 774-6051 , and 50 Miles Street, Greenfield, MA 01301 , and
[email protected] . All media enquiries should be addressed to ...
Jack Groh
Groh Associates
[email protected] email
401 732-1551 telephone
401 732-0547 fax
401 952-0886 cell/pager
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