Q&A with Louis Palmer: an e-mobility pioneer

Louis Palmer was the first person ever to circumnavigate the world in a solar powered vehicle between 2007 and 2008. He organised a competition afterwards and was awarded the ‘Champion of the Earth Award’ of the United Nations Environment Programme. Since 2011 he is organising the WAVE, world’s largest rally with electric vehicles. This year, he bettered the Guinness World record for the largest parade with electric vehicles.

Palmer will likely set new records when next year’s rally starts in Eastern Germany and finishes in Southern Switzerland.

While he just completed a 1400 kilometre tourism test drive with the E-Bus through Switzerland, we spoke with Palmer about his latest endeavours and why he supports 80 Day Race.

You were the first to circumnavigate the world without using a single drop of fossil fuel. What made you do it?
“When I was a child in the mid-eighties, we already had electric cars on the street and these were even very popular rallies. Twenty years later I realised that we still use petrol cars with their negative impacts like global warming, shrinking resources and wars for resources, while an existing technology was not even in people’s minds. So I built my solar car and drove it around the world to show people that this technology is absolutely clean, reliable and fun. The solution is available!”

What was your biggest challenge?
“The biggest challenge was finding the money to build the car and for the journey. But soon I quickly realised that the whole world is open for this kind of solutions and that made be help to build the car and to complete the journey.”

You are organiser of the WAVE Trophy. What is it about? And why are you organising this annual event?
“Today, electric cars are available and in everyone’s mouth, however, much more must be done to get them on the road in masses in order they can replace our existing petrol cars. The WAVE is the world’s largest rolling electric vehicle event and universities as well as companies and private teams meet up to have a unique experience and fun with their cars and with each other.”

Earlier this year you bettered the Guinness World Record for the largest parade of electric vehicles to 481. Why is it a significant milestone?
“Everyone with an electric car showed up to demonstrate that they use electric cars today: Daimler as a company, local car dealers, bakeries, universities, car sharing companies, electric companies and many private people took their electric car for this event. So we were able to show in the heart of the automobile industry in Stuttgart, in the area where Benz invented the first car, that electric cars are conquering the streets. Together we set an important signal to the world!”

You are an 80 Day Race ambassador. Why should people embrace this competition?
“Every event that shows that electric cars are available, reliable and ready for every day life must be supported. The change in technology has already happened. Now we need the change in people’s mind. That’s what 80 Day Race will do.”

Have a look at Louis Palmer’s 80 Day Race ambassador profile page here.

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