Category Archives: Events

Robert Llewelyn meets Trev

Back in January, RiAus brought Robert Llewelyn (Red Dwarf, Fully Charged, Scrapheap Challenge) out to Mawson Lakes to meet Trev, and made a video of the encounter.

Geneva, again!

On 16 August last year we drove out of the UN Palais des Nations and headed east. Yesterday at 11:00 am, after 80 days of driving, we arrived back at the Palais, having driven around the world.

Our aim in building Trev, and in driving around the world in Zero Race, was to demonstrate that it is possible to build practical vehicles that use clean energy, and use a lot less energy than conventional cars.  We have driven from Geneva to Shanghai, from Vancouver to Cancun, and from Casablanca back to Geneva. We have driven across deserts and across mountains, through remote rural areas and through some of the world’s largest cities, on all types of roads, in all types of weather. The energy cost of the journey was less than $400 worth of electricity generated from a wind farm. The net emissions were zero.

Australians are amongst the world’s highest emitters of CO2, per person. Our energy use is high, and we generate almost all of that energy from fossil fuels. Over the next 40 years we need to reduce our per-capita emissions by 95%. To achieve this, we need vehicles like Trev.

Over the next few days will will give Trev a good clean, pack it into a crate, and ship it back to Australia. When it gets back, we will continue refining it to make it more comfortable (it is quiet outside the car, but not so quiet inside the car), more efficient (there are still some efficiency improvements we can make to the motor controller), and easier to build. It is not yet ready for the showroom. But it has shown what is possible, and hopefully will make people think about how they will get around in a future without cheap oil and with an atmosphere that cannot take any more CO2.

Arrival in Cancun, Mexico!

In the three weeks since the blog has been updated, Trev and the rest of Zero Race has travelled all the way through the USA, has crossed into Mexico, and has just arrived at the World Climate Change conference in Cancun!

Zero Race arrives in Cancun

Our arrival completes the second leg of the Zero Emissions Race around the world and more than 23,000 km of driving since leaving Geneva in August.

Trev has been driven through North America from Vancouver to Cancun by Nick and Andrew, who have put in an enormous effort to overcome challenges such as reliable charging access, long driving days, cold weather, troubles with Trev’s motor controller, Mexican speed bumps and potholes up to half a metre across and 30 cm deep! A very tired Andrew and Nick have now been joined in Cancun by Peter, and the rest of Team Trev are hugely proud of their efforts.

Trev will help spread the message in Cancun that we need to be developing alternative means of travel with low carbon emissions and low energy use. In a few days’ time we will put Trev on a ship back to Europe for the final leg of Zero Race, arriving back at the start line at the UN headquarters in Geneva in late January.

There have been many highlights of the trip through North America. We will  write about these in future blog posts, coming soon.

We are very grateful for the ongoing support of our sponsors who have helped us get this far: UniSA, Google Australia, Galaxy Resources, EcoGreen Electrical, Design Ecology, ABN Newswire and Catcon.

Back in the race

We are back in the race, having rejoined the rest of the teams when they reached Berlin. The suspension and battery management problems are fixed. Unfortunately, our Swiss SIM card is not having much luck with the German mobile communications networks, so we have not seen any new photographs for a few days. Our next driver, Dickson, has gone ahead to Lithuania to look for a good mobile data plan.

Team Trev BBQ

With the technical upgrades to Trev nearly finished, and the start of Zero Race rapidly looming, Team Trev took a well-earned break from the workshop on Sunday and gathered for a BBQ.

Team Trev members and their families (who came to see what we have been occupied with during our ‘spare time’) celebrated what we’ve achieved so far.

Group photo at the BBQ

Technical and logistical work is still proceeding in earnest, but it’s very exciting as we approach the start of Zero Race!

Back from Bibendum

Peter and Nick are back from Rio and Challenge Bibendum.

The first day of the Challenge had low-emission urban vehicles, intercity cars and long-haul utility vehicles taking part in on-road rallys. The Aurora solar racing car led the intercity course of 300 km, climbing from sea level in Rio to over 1000 m in the mountains near Petropolis, and beyond. The Aurora web site has more details.

Aurora on the Bibendum intercity rally

Meanwhile, back at Rio Centro, world experts met for seven round-table discussions. The topics were:

  1. Advanced ICE engines. How will advanced ICE vehicles contribute to meeting the CO2 emission targets?
  2. Sustainable biofuels. How to achieve a 20% market share in transportation by 2020 with sustainable biofuels?
  3. Electric vehicles. How to meet a 10 to 15% market share of battery, fuel cell and plug-in hybrid vehicles by 2020?
  4. Efficient and safe urban transportation. How will ITS improve the situation?
  5. Safety requirements for lighter cars. Can cars be both light and safe?
  6. Economics of energy sources and CO2 emissions in the transportation sector.
  7. Public and private sector commitment and contribution to reducing work-related road traffic fatalities by 2020.

Over the next three days, the results of the round-table discussions were presented in panel sessions. Key findings included:

  • The era of cheap oil is over.
  • Transport is at the heart of the energy security and climate change debate, and needs transformation.
  • There is a positive ‘business case’ for a transformation in the transportation sector.
  • There is a need for carbon market mechanisms as well as regulatory measures to accelerate this transformation.
  • Major tasks for policy makers include better urban planning, facilitating behavioural changes, and eliminating subsidies on fossil fuels.

There were over 100 vehicles available for the ride-and-drive sessions. Most of the cars were similar in size and weight to conventional cars. A notable exception was the Peugeot BB1, a small 4-seater concept vehicle that is a cross between a car and two scooters.

Peugeot BB1

Another highlight was the electric personal transporters, including Segways, electric-assist bicycles, the 4-wheeled Vilco Speedy, and the Trikke Tribred. The Trikke was particularly impressive: fast, manoeuvrable, stable, lightweight, compact, and fun.

Personal electric transport

As someone at the conference noted, you can’t achieve mobility by giving everyone a car. The challenge will be to integrate vehicles such as these, and Trev, into urban transportation.

Challenge Bibendum

While most of the team is busy preparing Trev for Zero Race, Peter and Nick are about to head to Rio.

This year is the tenth Challenge Bibendum, an international event promoting sustainability mobility and demonstrating advanced prototype and production vehicles from around the world. Vehicle types include:

  • electric assist bikes
  • urban and intercity electric cars
  • plug-in hybrid cars
  • hybrid cars
  • vehicles using alternative fuels.

Peter and Nick will also be on the Aurora solar car team, participating in the technical assessments and on-road rally; vehicles are assessed for local pollution, noise, fuel efficiency, CO2 emissions, acceleration and manoeuvrability.

We will post reports and photographs when we return. Meanwhile, Peter’s report from the 2006 Challenge Bibendum will give a taste of the event. (Trev appears in one of the photographs!)

Trev and New Urbanism

Delegates at the Australian Council for New Urbanism Congress at the Adelaide Convention Centre this week might notice a small green car lurking in the background.

New Urbanism is an design movement that promotes sustainable cities, featuring:

  • mixed use, walkable neighbourhoods, each with a well-defined centre
  • well-connected streets that disperse and slow traffic, so that neighbourhood streets can be safely shared by vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians
  • electric mass-transit between neighbourhood centres
  • well-defined architecture reflecting climate and culture.

Even though we are currently focussed on driving Trev around the world, it is really these types of communities we had in mind when designing a small, clean, quiet, efficient car—something to get you between neighbourhoods if you don’t have a mass transit system.

If you are a New Urbanist who saw Trev at the Congress, you can find out more about Trev at our “About Trev” pages.

Louis Palmer’s public talk

Last night, Team Trev and Louis Palmer, founder and director of Zero Race, gave a public presentation in Adelaide to an enthusiastic audience of about 65 people.

Team Trev manager, Andrew Dickson, introduced our team of volunteers and explained how and why we are going to take the UniSA car, Trev, and drive it around the world. Next, technical manager Peter Pudney showed the audience how to build a Trev.

The main attraction was Louis Palmer, who gave an inspiring presentation about how he achieved his childhood dream of driving a solar powered car around the world.

Louis describing his bicycle ride across Africa

Louis finished off with a brief overview of Zero Race. Louis and Team Trev then took questions from the audience before moving outside to look at Trev.

Trev in Rundle Mall

Yesterday we took Trev into Rundle Mall. ABC TV News came along and asked people whether they would drive something like Trev. Most people would.

Trev in Rundle Mall

(more photos)

We were also interviewed by Channel 7, ABC Radio and Radio Adelaide, and have online stories on Yahoo!7 and ABC News Online.

Tonight Trev will be at the UniSA City West campus for a public talk by Louis Palmer on Zero Race; see Upcoming Events for more details.