Traveling into the sun, Solar Impulse 2 is hitting the home stretch on its around-the-world tour, having landed in Seville, Spain in the morning sun. A few days before that, another circumnavigation was departing for the New World, emulating the great explorers 500 years ago. Instead of looking for gold, though, they are looking for charging stations for their electric steeds. SI2, constrained by weather considerations, could not be there to greet the drivers taking part in the Around the World in 80 eDays event.
11 teams with an international cast of characters are circumnavigating the globe, much like Phileas Fogg in the Jules Verne classic story. Instead of finding passage by balloon, riverboat and elephant, today‘s travelers are relying on their Teslas and one electric bus from the Hungarian team (all of which will be airlifted across the Atlantic and Pacific). Other teams from Switzerland, Germany, Spain, China, the Czech Republic, Italy, and Austria round out the entourage.
Sponsored by entities such as NRGKick (an all-purpose charged adapter), MyClimate (a group dedicated to reforestation), Elcora (graphite mining and graphene manufacturing) and various hotels along the way, the teams are making great progress – now in their 14th day on the road.
Alan Soule’, a CAFE Foundation board member, heads up the American team, and will be joined at different points along the way by several other co-drivers. Drivers will be treated to at least 40 planned events at stops on the route, one tested by Rafael de Mestre on his 2012 drive.
Planting trees along the way to help offset the carbon impact of the run, the 80 participants will be ambassadors for green energy, much as Bertrand Piccard and Andre’ Borschberg are with Solar Impulse.
Now traversing the United States on their way to their Pacific Ocean departure point, teams are held (we hope briefly) by tornado warnings in the Midwest.
The Facebook page for the 80-day event reports, “Here comes the first real nature barrier on the #80edays #USA route – Tornado Warning! Known as “Tornado Alley”, most common in northern Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Nebraska, often unexpectedly striking at night that makes it more dangerous, the obstacle startled #80edays on the road, forcing the teams [to] make an unforeseen stop. Will the cars manage to get the nearest San-Francisco check-point in time? Hopefully, disaster will be gone with the wind….A thrilling moment, shared by Carolina Bianchi.”
We’ll keep CAFE Blog readers posted on Alan’s ongoing adventure.