Inspired by the sun, motivated by the enviroment

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Brazilian will travel from the Arctic to Brazil with solar car in 2011.

By Sacha Vaz

Photo: Lydia Perr

The solar car of Marcelo Da Luz, nicknamed XOF1 is finally set to travel the roads from the Arctic to South America. In order to accomplish this amazing trip, Da Luz is looking for partners and sponsors. The previous trips with XOF1 have been borne by Da Luz, who currently divides his time between the project and his job as steward on a major airline. According to Da Luz, the journey to Brazil represents a great marketing platform, offering exclusive attention to media sponsors.

The latest challenge accomplished by the Brazilian, in 2010, was driving the XOF1, using only sunshine as fuel, on the longest continuous ice road on the planet, over the Makenzie River and the Arctic Ocean. The car travelled 187 km from Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk, both cities located in northeastern Canada.

“People kept telling me that I would have no problem driving in the Arctic Circle because of the midnight sun, a phenomenon that occurs in that region during six months of the year, where the sun remains visible for 24 hours. But during most of my trip, the sun was below the horizon. Moreover, there were 750 km of dirt road, with three continental divisions, including ridges and mountains!” says Da Luz.

In another experiment, while traveling through North America, Da Luz was stopped 26 times by police. In Alaska, he was stopped four times, once due to a call from an individual who claimed to have seen a flying saucer on the streets!

The project was developed by Da Luz in Toronto, with the help of Brazilian and Canadian engineers. The objective of establishing a world distance record in a solar car has been reached. So far, he traveled over 36,000 kilometers, twice the previous record. The XOF1 can reach 85 km/h in just 6 seconds. The maximum speed is 120 km/h.

The XOF1 has a battery bank that stores electrical energy, and an electric motor that drives the car. However, instead of plugging in to charge the battery, XOF1 is literally connected to the sun. The roof is covered with solar cells that with the incidence of the sun, converts light into electricity. To give us an idea, while a toaster consumes 1000 watts, the solar car, equipped with 893 solar cells, can generate up to 900 watts in the midday sun.

Another curiosity is that the XOF1 can drive 200 km at night, using the stored energy in its lithium batteries. On a sunny day, with the batteries charged, it can drive 500 km. It takes 8 to 10 hours to charge the battery in the summer and from 10 to 12 hours in the winter.

“When we think about a solar car, what quickly comes to mind is the image of a tropical country and high temperatures. Thus, having doubled the distance record, besides becoming the first electric car to cross the longest ice road in the world, with temperatures well below freezing, it’s really very satisfying,” he adds.

With the success of the solar car, Da Luz has been invited by several universities and companies to give lectures and presentations on sustainability and alternative energy. “Like the cars that compete in F1 races, the XOF1 is a laboratory on wheels, an opportunity to develop and test new technologies, many of them already used in day to day in industries such as the automotive industry, for electric motors, low resistance and rolling tires,” he concludes.

Da Luz makes a point of remembering his commitment to the environment and invites everyone to visit the website www.xof1.com. Follow the trajectory of XOF1 and find more information about the use of clean energy. Say YES to a greener planet!

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Power of One Solar Car Project