Geneva, Switzerland – The Zero Race, a global challenge for emission-free vehicles to tour the world in 80 days, is now underway following a start in Geneva. Four teams from three continents have started in the race, which began on August 16 at the United Nations Palace in Geneva.

The race is organized by Louis Palmer, who in 2008 drove across 38 countries and covered more than 54,000 kilometres in 18 months in a car powered by solar energy. The trip raised awareness about renewable energy and climate change to more than 770 million people worldwide.

The teams, from Australia, Switzerland, Germany and South Korea have all developed new high-tech electric vehicles especially for the race. The event is not only about speed, but reliability, design and safety. Each team is obliged to power the vehicles by renewable energy, including solar or wind power.

The cars will cross Switzerland, then head to Brussels, Berlin, Vienna, Moscow and Shanghai. The cars will then travel by ship to Vancouver, and continue along the west coast of North America to Cancun, Mexico where they will be put on display at the United Nations Climate Conference.

In December, the vehicles will be shipped to Portugal, where they will complete the final leg of the global journey. After 80 days of travel time, 30,000 kilometres through 16 countries and 150 city stopovers, the race will finish at the end of January 2011 in Geneva. For more information, visit Zero Race.

Connect with Autos.ca