"The goal of the race for Oerlikon Solar is to spread the message that there is progress in innovation for more efficient and sustainable mobility for the future," says Jürg Henz, CEO of Oerlikon Solar. “Powered by the electricity generated from Oerlikon Solar’s innovative Swiss engineering thin film silicon solar technology, 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.”
Mobility with zero emissions
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, which is being held under the auspices of the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP), is to present emissions-free mobility solutions. The Zerotracer, sponsored by Oerlikon Solar under the auspices of Cleantech Switzerland, is one of these solutions. The Zero Emissions Race began on August 16, 2010 at the United Nations office in Geneva and continues for 80 days, heading eastward through 16 countries and passing through more than 150 cities, including Berlin, Munich, Moscow, Shanghai, Vancouver, Los Angeles, Cancun (World Climate Conference), Lisbon and Madrid. It will conclude on January 22, 2011 in Geneva.
Before setting out to cross the Pacific Ocean, the Zerotracer arrived in Shanghai according to the original schedule, leading the race with 165 points out of 190, ahead of Germany and Australia. So far, the 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.
As the main sponsor of the Swiss team, Oerlikon Solar is responsible for generating the environmentally friendly solar energy. This energy is produced on thin film silicon modules produced with non-toxic materials, and powers the Zerotracer 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. Oerlikon Solar and the team are both pioneering work in the area of environmentally sustainable thin film silicon solar technology, and in the future mobility with zero carbon dioxide emissions.
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. Due to its superior aerodynamics and highly 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. The Zerotracer consumes 4 kW when travelling at an average speed of 80 km/h, resulting in a range of 450 km. The body weighs less than 80 kg and is made from Kevlar composite, which is also used in Formula 1 automobile construction.
“Swiss engineering excellence”
In addition to the concept of zero emissions, Oerlikon Solar is committed to Swiss engineering excellence. The Zerotracer is a demonstration of Swiss engineering ingenuity and communicates the "High tech made in Switzerland" message around the world. As the main sponsor, Oerlikon Solar makes a significant contribution to this message with environmentally sustainable thin film silicon technology from Switzerland. Technology partners Oerlikon Mechatronics supplied tailored gearbox components and Oerlikon Graziano supplied a high-torque drive system. The electric motors, gearwheels and additional components originated from Swiss technology enterprises.
"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,” says Henz.
For more information about the Zerotracer, when and where the car comes to a city near you and Oerlikon Solar’s participation in the Zero Emissions Race please visit www.zerotracer.com, www.zero-race.com or contact the below.
Oerlikon (SIX:OERL) is a leading high-tech industrial group specializing in machine and plant engineering. The Company is a provider of innovative industrial solutions and cutting-edge technologies for textile manufacturing, thin-film coating, drive, vacuum, solar energy systems and advanced nanotechnology. A Swiss company with a tradition going back 150 years, Oerlikon is a global player with around 16,000 employees at over 150 locations in 36 countries and sales of CHF 2.9 billion in 2009. The Company invests more than CHF 200 million annually in R&D, with over 1,200 specialists working on future products and services. The operative businesses rank either first or second in their respective global markets.
Oerlikon Solar designs and manufactures field-proven equipment and turnkey manufacturing lines for the mass production of environmentally sustainable thin film silicon solar modules. With its amorphous and high-efficiency Micromorph® tandem technology, Oerlikon has dramatically increased the efficiency of thin film silicon and created innovative end-to-end manufacturing solutions for thin film PV, enabling new entrants in the fast-growing, global PV manufacturing business. Oerlikon Solar leads the thin film solar equipment sector with 14 customers in seven countries, and more than 3 million modules produced and 450 MW of capacity produced worldwide.
Oerlikon Solar has Micromorph® patents dating back to 1993, was the first to integrate the high-efficiency Transparent Conductive Oxide (TCO) layer, and the first to commercialize the high-efficiency Micromorph® process and support the majority of its customers in migrating to it. To date it is the only proven end-to-end Micromorph® solution available on the market, offering lowest cost of electricity $/kWh, and proving highest future cost reduction potential. Certifications from UL and TUV confirm that Oerlikon Solar meets highest quality and reliability standards worldwide. In May 2009, Oerlikon Solar became the first thin film silicon PV technology provider to pass all tests required for its Micromorph® thin film silicon solar PV modules and receive TUV Rheinland’s IEC certification.
Oerlikon Solar thin film silicon modules are produced environmentally friendly with non-toxic materials, and they are ideal for semi-transparent glass and other building-integrated PV (BIPV) applications. Thin film modules perform well in diffuse or lower light, and are best suited for high temperature climates. Its production lines are complete systems, yet modular and upgradeable, so customers have the capability to scale up rapidly with the latest technology to meet fast-growing demand for solar PV, demand that will accelerate as the cost of PV energy approaches grid parity.
Oerlikon Solar launched the new production line "ThinFab" for manufacturing of thin film silicon modules, which will achieve record breaking production costs of € 0.50 per Watt peak (Wp). The ThinFab reduces the energy payback-time of thin film silicon modules below one year, with the lowest energy consumption for photovoltaic production plants in the industry.
Oerlikon Solar is headquartered in Switzerland, has about 700 employees in 13 locations worldwide, a number of factories in production around the globe and maintains sales and service centers in the USA, Europe, China, Taiwan, Korea, Singapore and Japan.