Swiss teacher Louis Palmer is nearing the completion of his round-the-world trip in a solar-powered vehicle. Palmer arrived at the UN Climate Change conference in Poznan, Poland last week in his solar taxi. The two-seat trike has completed 32,365 miles over the 17-month trek, running mostly on solar energy collected through a trailer covered in photovoltaic cells. Unfortunately, clouds limit the amount of energy that can be collected from the sun at times, so Palmer has had to plug in the taxi now and again. As for Palmer, he gets his energy by demonstrating the viability of solar power as a means of moving a car.
Palmer will spend this week at the conference demonstrating the taxi to attendees at the conference before he heads back to Switzerland to complete his trek. While Palmer's feat is pretty amazing, powering vehicles using direct solar power will likely not be a practical commercial alternative for many years to come. The size of the solar trailer needed just to power this little taxi (see a picture here
) is not viable for mass adoption.