European Solar Rally 2010 kick starts in Catalan coastal town

Caldes d?Estrac hosts event to promote electric vehicles

Mireia Sánchez

May 20, 2010 10:31 PM

Barcelona (CNA).- The new photovoltaic parking of Caldes d'Estrac, in the coastal county of Maresme (North Barcelona), will be the departure point for the European Solar Rally Phebus 2010. This is an initiative to promote electric vehicles that takes place every year between Catalonia and France. The photovoltaic parking lot is almost ready for action and will produce the energy equivalent to the annual consumption of a thousand families. The mayor of Caldes d’Estrac, Joaquim Arnó, pointed out that the parking lot will be equipped with electric vehicle recharging slots as well as pergolas with large solar sheeting.
The photovoltaic parking of Caldes, the first one in Spain, is about to be unveiled. Once it is working at full capacity, the solar sheets situated on the pergolas will generate the energy equivalent to the consumption of a thousand families. Moreover, the initiative will avoid the felling of 121,000 trees and the emission of 216,000 kilograms of CO2.

The parking lot is situated between the national road N-II and the beach of Caldes d’Estrac and has a capacity for 200 cars. It is to be used above all in summer, although this week it was full of cars ready to take part in the Solar Rally Phebus. The rally has linked Catalonia and France every year since 2000 in order to raise awareness about the advantages of electric vehicles.

The rally is organised by Volttour and its president, Patrick Renau, said that the 'time has come' to promote a change in the vehicle propulsion system and to permanently introduce the electric engine which consumes half the energy part of a conventional engine. According to Renau, a 'mind change has taken place' over the last few years, although there is still work to be done.

Renau believes that even though the features of an electric car are not the same as a conventional one, nowadays many people use the car just to cover short distances. A wide range of electric vehicles have been on show in Caldes d’Estrac, some of them with the appearance of a conventional car, and others with more futuristic appearances.