Louis Palmer, a Swiss school teacher, had a vision: to build a solar-powered car and drive it around the world. After driving almost 18 months, 32,000 miles through 38 countries, and hosting celebrity drivers such as movie director James Cameron, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Prince Albert of Monaco, and Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, Palmer's impressive solar "taxi" ended its journey at the UN climate change hearings in Poznan, Poland.
The vehicle tows a low trailer which houses its batteries and carries its six square meters of solar panels on its roof. Combined, the trailer and vehicle only weigh about 1,600 pounds. With fully charged batteries, the vehicle has a top speed of 56 MPH and a range of almost 250 miles. Palmer boasts that while his prototype was preicey to build (he won't give an exact figure), it wouldn't be as expensive as one would think to mass produce (possibly as little as $17,000 per vehicle). He's also proud of its reliability, adding that the vehicle only needed repair twice on its around-the-world journey.