admin's picture

BOSTON, Massachusetts (May 27, 2001 – FSM Embassy)---On Saturday, May 26th, after what can only be described as an incredibly challenging eight day competition among over 50 alternative energy fueled vehicle entries, ‘Team Micronesia’ earned an astonishing four individual awards.

This number of awards was made all the more significant because this was the first time Micronesians had ever competed in the annual Tour de Sol Race.

Among the awards was the Race’s most coveted "Greenest Vehicle" Award that is presented to the vehicle across all categories and classes that demonstrated the lowest raw greenhouse gas (GHG) score computed by an Argonne National Laboratory methodology. ‘Team Micronesia’ also won first place in the Autocross Event, across all categories and classes, demonstrating the handling capability of the scooter dubbed the "Climate Cooler" by ‘Team Micronesia’.

After two days of technical tests (May 19th – 20th in Waterbury, Connecticut) ‘Team Micronesia’s’ "Climate Cooler" met all entry specifications, and began the actual competition on Monday, May 21st. The Race began in Waterbury, and over the next six grueling days and hundreds of miles, the Tour de Sol Race Route included: Lenox, Massachusetts, Pittsfield, Massachusetts, Rensselaer, New York, Albany, New York, North Adams, Massachusetts, Greenfield, Massachusetts, Worchester, Massachusetts, and Boston, Massachusetts.

‘Team Micronesia’ competed in the Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) category, in the One-Person vehicle class, Prototype division.

‘Team Micronesia’s’ "Climate Cooler" scooter, manufactured by Personal Electric Transport (PET, Honolulu, Hawai‘i) impressed all participants and judges with its highly innovative "quick change" (QC) battery.

In its category and class, ‘Team Micronesia’ also won first place in the Prototype Division, and Best Two Wheeler Overall competitions.

PET’s three competing vehicles, including ‘Team Micronesia’s’ "Climate Cooler," were rewarded with the "Innovation" Award – which covered all classes and categories of vehicles – based on teams "that introduce a creative, new technology or has a design that shows elegance in engineering."

With the "Climate Cooler" included in the "Innovation" Award, ‘Team Micronesia’ was among the most awarded teams participating in the weeklong event.

PET vehicles won a total of ten awards, more than any other manufacturer in the 13-year history of the Race. PET’s ‘Team Micronesia’, ‘Team China’, and ‘Team Global’ (which had Micronesian, Chinese, U.S., and Canadian team members) beat out alternative energy vehicles developed and fielded by automobile manufacturing giants such as American Honda, Ford, Daimler Chrysler, and General Motors.

Wade Lawrence, ‘Team Micronesia’s’ "Climate Cooler" driver, who endured five days of rain driving though the Berkshire Mountains along the Race Route, summed up the sentiment of the whole Team: "I am so proud of us, we were here at the beginning to launch this amazing new form of transportation. This is so important. Thirty years from now we will look back and know that ‘Team Micronesia’ 2001 contributed the personal energy to demonstrate that this scooter can revolutionize transportation in the developing world, and lower greenhouse gas emissions that threaten our islands with global warming and sea level rise. We were here!"

After the exhausting and thrilling week, the Awards ceremony took place on City Hall Plaza in Boston’s downtown center. The FSM Embassy’s First Secretary, Tanya Harris took the stage along with other speakers including Norman Mineta, the U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary, and the Minister from the Chinese Embassy. After the events of the week, Harris was convinced that ‘Team Micronesia’s’ presence helped raise awareness among the hundreds of school children and adults that visited the Team’s Exhibit booth on display the whole week at different festival sites; and, the thousands that were reached through news media coverage.

‘Team Micronesia’s’ Exhibit, entitled "What Will Tomorrow Bring?" was also voted the best of all exhibits by judges factoring in various criteria. At every stop children and adults thanked ‘Team Micronesia’ and their support members for being there and helping to raise awareness about the global warming issue by participating in the Tour de Sol. The Exhibit was designed to focus on the human aspect of global warming, and evidence of the effects already taking place such as mangrove and coral reef die off, taro garden destruction, as well as the natural beauty of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM). The Team members all had personal stories to share with visitors about global warming effects.

Harris said, "This is a unique opportunity, and, our intent was to bring our culture to the people of the United States before it disappears under the sea. We wanted people to learn more about Micronesia and the issue of global warming, the effects of which we are already beginning to see in our islands. We want children the world over to know that just as we care for our home, our islands, and our culture, we care about their future also. And, to let them know global warming is happening now, so we must all work together to help curb its disastrous effects."

Team Member Vanessa Konno (Chuuk), as quoted in The Boston Globe (May 26th), stated, "We want to demonstrate that renewable energy is definitely a workable solution to global warming."

‘Team Micronesia’s’ presence in the Tour de Sol Race offered solid evidence that alternative energy vehicles such as the "Climate Cooler" (Caballito Electric Scooter manufactured by PET) can help solve the transportation needs of the developing world, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions that threaten small island states like the FSM, and all countries around the world.


‘Team Micronesia’ Members: Simpson Abraham (Kosrae), Maraea Harris (Pohnpei), Rocketchun Holden (Pohnpei), Vanessa Konno (Chuuk), Mary Ann LaTorres (Pohnpei), Wade Lawrence (Pohnpei), Bradford Mori (Chuuk). Team Support: Enrico Calderon, Tanya Harris, Sebia Hawkins, Nelson Marehalau (Yap), Jojo, Bingo, Phillip, and Phillip.

Team Member activities included: driving the "Climate Cooler" performed by Wade Lawrence. Changing the quick change (QC) batteries along the Race Route -- Tony Locricchio, PET CEO has nicknamed the QC battery "Rocky" because Team Member Rocky Holden could actually lift the 200 – 250 pound batteries without the PET designed cart or hydraulic lift to place it in the "Climate Cooler" -- to the astonishment of PET technical support and all observers. Simpson Abraham and Brad Mori assisted Rocky during change out. Navigation and maintenance of battery charge information and mileage was a critical task for the "Climate Cooler’s" chase vehicle that held extra batteries for changing during the race days. This computation and navigation task was performed brilliantly by Maraea Harris, and was essential to calculate the GHG emission ratio and gas mileage equivalent (the Climate Cooler operated on approximately 189-mpg conversion). Brad Mori and Mary Ann LaTorres were also Team navigators with ‘Team Micronesia’ and ‘Team Global’ . Simpson Abraham also assisted with navigation, and the Exhibit Booth. Vanessa Konno, Mary Ann La Torres, and the rest of the Team members and on-site Support personnel all assisted with public outreach at the Exhibit Booth throughout the week.

REMARKS GIVEN BY TANYA L. HARRIS Charge d’Affaires, a.i., Embassy of the Federated States of Micronesia, Washington, D.C.





Secretary Mineta, distinguished guests, students, teachers, ladies and gentlemen, it is with great honor and pleasure that I speak here on behalf of Ambassador Jesse B. Marehalau of Micronesia, among such illustrious guests in the closing ceremony of the 2001 Tour de Sol. It has also been a great pleasure for the members of Team Micronesia to have been a part of this tour and to have met so many people along the way.

When first asked about the possibility of participating in Tour de Sol, we jumped at the opportunity to meet directly with the American people along the route. It seemed appropriate that on a tour for alternative energy vehicles, we could share our island perspective on global warming.

Our government has been participating regularly in international meetings in the hopes of raising more awareness on the vulnerability of small nations such as our own in the face of global warming. However, because of our special relationship with the United States, it seems important that we also interact with Americans on a more personal level, especially in light of recent decisions taken by the U.S. Administration.

Our islands and our people are being threatened by changes in the climate. We believe we are not alone. Our very cultures and our livelihood that are so closely linked to the land and the sea are in danger.

Some of us take our names from the land that we belong to or the land that is to be our inheritance. We bury our dead on our family land. Rarely do Micronesians just pick up and relocate to another state or island as is commonly practiced here in the United States. Even when away for school or work, our islands are always home.

We eat breadfruit, coconut, taro, bananas, yam and so many other varieties of food crops that grow in the islands. We still practice traditions of giving first fruits and first crops to our traditional leaders for redistribution in the community. We pride ourselves in the variety of our local foods and have annual competitions to show our crops. Many of us fish the ocean for food and sustenance.

Some of our islands have rainforests and abundant rivers from which we drink and bathe. Others must rely on sources of rain or wells.

We use the trees and plants on our land for building homes and canoes. We also use our plants and trees for traditional healing medicines. The mangrove swamps that surround some of our islands act as natural barriers and nurseries for even more food. We grow up climbing mango trees that our ancestors planted and that we share with all the kids in the neighborhood.

There are words in our many languages that describe our relationship to the land and the sea. On the island of Pohnpei, for example, the importance of coral reefs and mangrove swamps can be described in a few words: "katengin sehd" and "katengin sapw". Roughly translated, coral reefs are described as that which preserves the ocean and mangrove swamps are described as that which preserves the land. These words in our language take on an even more important meaning when science can now point to the importance that such biosystems play in maintaining a natural equilibrium in our islands.

In Micronesia, we are concerned about global warming. We are concerned about what it may mean for our islands today and for all of our children tomorrow. We now learn new words to describe our environment, such as accelerated sea-level rise, coastal erosion, coral bleaching, salt-water intrusion of crops, watershed management, El Nino and La Nina. It is a new language for us but one that we hope others will hear. To quote our President Leo A. Falcam, "unless something effective is done about (human induced climate change), and now, our concerns about global issues will disappear within as little as fifty years, along with our islands". Ever more so today, we in the faraway islands are NOT isolated from the actions and decisions of those taken on continents in countries such as China and the United States. However, because we are so far away, it is sometimes difficult to remember we are there or to hear our voice.

And so ladies and gentlemen, on behalf of Team Micronesia we thank you so much for coming out today. We thank all of those with whom we met along the way. We thank the press that has printed and reported our story. We thank our sponsors who invited us to race their vehicle. We thank those companies that lead the way in providing alternative and clean vehicles. Although this race ends, we hope that we can continue to share our stories with the American people. We hope that you, in turn, will share our concerns with your fellow citizens and especially your elected officials.

I thank you all,

Kalahngan oh Kaselehlie.





May 26, 2001

BOSTON, Massachusetts – More than three dozen vehicles crossed the Boston finish line in this year’s Tour de Sol competition, on Saturday, May 26. The 13th Annual Tour de Sol: The Great American Green Transportation Festival is a grueling, 300-mile test of the capabilities of advanced vehicles. Dozens of awards and trophies highlight top placing teams, but the biggest winner this year is the American public. With record-high prices at the gas pump, millions of people are looking for more fuel-efficient cars – and these cars and motor scooters provide viable options that not only reduce fuel costs, but also reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

"The impressive quality of the Tour de Sol’s winning vehicles shows that Americans don’t have to sacrifice safety, performance, or comfort to get a car that’s good for the environment," said Warren Leon, executive director of the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association (NESEA).

The Tour de Sol is the largest and most widely diversified competition and showcase for advanced, cleaner vehicle technologies in the world. Vehicles compete in eight different categories and are evaluated on performance, consumer acceptability, and environmental impact. The emphasis on "green-ness" is just one of the things that makes the Tour de Sol unique among international automotive events.

"These vehicles also could ease America’s energy crisis by dramatically reducing our need for oil," said Nancy Hazard, Tour de Sol director. "Hybrid-electric and battery-electric vehicles are incredibly efficient and can reduce fuel use by 30-50%. In addition, many of the vehicles in the Tour de Sol demonstrate the practicality of using domestically-produced fuels, which are good for the environment and for the U.S. economy."

More than a dozen of the vehicles participating in this year’s Tour de Sol are production vehicles – available right now on the market here in the United States. Many other vehicles are pre-production prototypes, experimental vehicles, or student projects.

Vehicles compete and win awards in different categories based on the type of vehicle and the energy source (solar, batteries, hybrid, renewable fuel, etc.) used to power the vehicle.

The top finishers in each category in this year’s competition are:

Production Division

Prototype Division

The 13th annual Tour de Sol: The Great American Green Transportation Festival began May 19th in Waterbury, Connecticut and ended May 26th in Boston, Massachusetts. Along the way, exhibits and community festivals were also held in Albany, New York, Pittsfield, Massachusetts, Greenfield, Massachusetts, and Worcester, Massachusetts.

Major sponsors of the 13th annual Tour de Sol include: the U.S. Department of Energy (Title Sponsor), American Honda Motor Company (Gold Sponsor), the Connecticut Department of Transportation, ENSCO, Inc., the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, the Waterbury Region Convention and Visitors Bureau, and Texaco Ovonic Battery Company.

Other major sponsors include: AutomotiveWire, DaimlerChrysler, the Electric Vehicle Association of the Americas, EOTC/MassHighway, Ford Th!nk Mobility, KeySpan Energy Delivery, National Grid, the New York Power Authority, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The Tour de Sol is organized by the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association (NESEA), the nation's leading regional association involved in promoting awareness, understanding, and development of non-polluting, renewable energy technologies. Headquartered in Greenfield, Massachusetts, NESEA has worked successfully for more than a quarter century in the fields of transportation, building construction, and renewable energy. Further information on the competition, including a complete list of all vehicle scores and results, are available on the web at www.nesea.org or by calling NESEA at (413) 774-6051.

Rate this article: 
Average: 2.5 (2 votes)

Add new comment