Toronto, Ontario – A solar-powered car, campaigned by an international team based in Toronto, Ontario has successfully tackled the longest ice road in the world. Marcelo da Luz of Toronto and his Power of One (XOF1) solar car travelled 187 km from Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk in the Northwest Territories last weekend.
The unheated three-wheeled car took nine and a half tours from start to finish. The trip, which da Luz’s team called the Ice Challenge, took place on the seasonal road that covers 180 km over the frozen Mackenzie River and Arctic Ocean.
XOF1 has twice crossed the Arctic Circle and holds the world distance record for a solar car, at 35,700 km. It can accelerate from zero to 85 km in six seconds, and can drive 483 km in sunshine, and 200 km at night. It is the world’s first solar car to operate below freezing temperatures, to drive on an ice road, and to reach the Arctic Circle.
Early in the ice road trip, XOF1 reached speeds of 70 km/h, but poor conditions closer to Tuktoyaktuk required speeds of 30 to 40 km/h. The car also suffered four flat tires due to ice cracks. The team is planning a return trip to Inuvik on April 13.
XOF1 was created by da Luz in 1999, who originally wanted to build a car to compete in the World Solar Challenge. This evolved into a plan to cross the continent from St. John’s, Newfoundland to Victoria, B.C., but when an Australian team drove 13,055 km around Australia in January 2002, the XOF1 project crossed Canada twice to set a new distance record of 16,000 km.
The next challenge for the XOF1 is scheduled to be a trip from Inuvik to Ushuaia, Argentina, between June 21 and December 21, 2010. For more information, visit Power Of One.