Tonight is the last race of the season for ARCA, a stock car racing series a level below the NASCAR Nationwide Series. Münter told AutoblogGreen this week that this is the perfect time to bring up the energy freedom issue, since the media is already paying attention. She's no stranger to this sort of thing, either, having driven a race car with solar power assistance at a race at Chicagoland and running a 100-percent renewable energy car at Daytona earlier this year.
"My degree is in biology, so I've always been eco-minded," she said before recounting a story about driving her personal Tesla Model S from Charlotte, NC to that race in Chicago. "I wanted to show people that this is a technology that is available to us now and that you can make long trips," she said. She used the burgeoning Supercharger network to fill up along the way and even announced her stops ahead of time in order to meet fans, both of her racing and EV technology. She said some people asked about running out of electricity, but answered them with a laugh and explained that she's got this thing on her dash board that shows her how many miles she has left, just like a gas gauge.
"I wanted to show people that [EV] technology that is available to us now." – Leilani Münter
Regular readers might remember Münter from the "Eco Dream Team" of race car drivers she put together in 2008 or when she saw the effects of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 first hand. She also had a previous life in Hollywood as a stand-in for Catherine Zeta-Jones. She said that she used the money she made from working on movies to go racing school. That was 14 years ago, and she's used her racing skills to not only promote green energy but also to bring more green to the track since then. She adopts an acre of rain forest or donates to coral reef protection after each race.
As for the new Energy Freedom car, Münter said that, "As Americans we should have the right to choose where we get our energy. Utilities are getting a little nervous about people choosing renewable energy, and this car is meant to bring that topic up. I have solar panels on my roof and I can drive off of sunshine every day. There are a lot of places where it's difficult to get solar panels and where the utility is basically a monopoly. This country was founded on us having freedoms and we shouldn't have these utilities telling us 'we're not going to let you do that.' Part of it is letting people know that this battle is happening. The other part is that it makes financial sense. It's just a smart economic move. 100-percent renewable energy is, I think, a totally possible solution."
She also thinks that race fans are ready for this fresh energy message. "That's exactly why I go to the race track," she said. "I can reach so many people that I couldn't reach if I was a biologist and running around San Diego. Because I have a race car, it gives me a voice to get these technologies out there and accepted by the mainstream. They're not going to come to a renewable energy conference in Aspen, but they are going to be at Daytona." Just ask the lines of fans who, it turns out, were more interested in her Model S than in her autograph after that Chicago race. "As someone who is versed in both worlds, I can tell you that they're ready," she said.
"Because I have a race car, it gives me a voice."
Münter debuts new red, white and blue car, calling energy freedom a critical family value
Kansas City, KS - Top female race car driver Leilani Münter is calling on fans to put energy freedom on the fast track. She will debut her new red-white-and-blue Energy Freedom car at the ARCA 98.9 race at the Kansas Speedway on October 3.
The No.66 Energy Freedom Toyota race car is emblazoned with the slogan "Energy Freedom: Your Family, Your Choice." Like many of her fans, Münter believes that American families should have the right to cleaner energy choices and the freedom to produce, own and control the energy they use to power their homes, cars and businesses.
"Energy freedom is the right of every American family," said Münter. "Across this country, I have met so many families who have chosen cleaner energy and gained new freedom over their lives because they own and control the energy they use, and they are saving money. "
Münter's special guests at the Kansas Speedway exemplify what is possible. The Eller family, along with other residents of Greensburg, Kansas, focused on renewable energy when they rebuilt their community after the deadly 2007 tornado.
Today, Greensburg is the world's leading community in LEED-certified buildings per capita, and the entire town is powered by renewable energy. The Eller's home is powered by renewable energy, including solar, and the family is saving a lot of money on their utility bills. The clean energy choices the Ellers made will be featured in a short film about Greensburg that Münter will release later this month.
A long-time champion of energy freedom, Münter and her team are powering her pit box with a ZeroBase portable solar power system, replacing the standard diesel generator with a quieter, cleaner, more cost-effective option. When off the track, Münter drives an electric vehicle.
"Freedom, independence and self-sufficiency are at the heart of who we are as a nation. It is a family value. That's why so many American families support the idea of energy freedom," said Münter. "Moms and dads, teachers and firefighters across the country are putting solar panels on their roofs, tapping into wind energy and driving hybrids and electric vehicles because energy freedom means economic freedom and healthier lives. "
Driver introductions begin at 7pm on Friday October 3. The green flag flies at 730pm and the ARCA 98.9 race will air live on Fox Sports 2.
Leilani will be returning to the racetrack in the Energy Freedom race car in partnership with The Solutions Project at the ARCA race at Daytona International Speedway on February 14.