"Green Transportation Festival'': Tour de Sol Attracting Big Names

GREENFIELD, Mass.--(AutomotiveWire)--April 15, 2001--More companies and government agencies are lining up to be sponsors of the "Tour de Sol: The Great American Green Transportation Festival" than ever before.

They are also rolling up their sleeves and will be actively involved when the 50-vehicle road rally leaves Waterbury, Conn., next month for Boston. Along the way, six festivals showcasing the latest Earth-friendly vehicles, will be held in Connecticut, New York and Massachusetts.

"Many auto manufacturers, who are competing to produce green vehicles, have become sponsors and will be showcasing their latest offerings," explained event director Nancy Hazard of the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association. "Our government sponsors are interested in educating the public about what each American can do to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and clean up the air."

Now in its 13th year, The Tour de Sol has become the premier event in the United States that promotes environmentally-friendly, commercially-viable transportation technologies. In its first year it attracted six student-built vehicles but no sponsors. In 2001, the tour is expected to draw more than 50 vehicles and 18 major sponsors, many of them major auto, bus, and motorcycle manufacturers.

This year, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is title sponsor of the Tour de Sol. DOE has supported this event and its goal of Earth-friendly transportation for many years. DOE has also helped develop a scoring system that encourages entrants to build vehicles that are gas-sippers and produce less greenhouse gas emissions. American Honda Motor Company is "gold" sponsor for the second year in a row. Honda has won several awards for its efforts to produce environmentally-friendly vehicles. At the Tour de Sol it will showcase the newest model of its hybrid gas-electric powered Insight and its natural-gas powered Civic GX.

The Civic GX has been recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as "Cleanest on Earth" with an internal combustion engine emitting near-zero emissions. The 2001 Insight will serve as the official pace car during the weeklong road rally. Six other sponsors have joined on the "silver" level. They include the Connecticut Department of Transportation, which has provided photographic equipment and expertise to prepare detailed maps and charts of the road rally route; the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, which is doing classroom presentations to Massachusetts teachers and students interested in taking a field trip to the Tour de Sol and bringing electric vehicles and a display on clean air and transportation to the rally; the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, which is providing demonstration vehicles as well as setting up a display of the equipment used to measure auto emissions; the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, which is supporting a "Made in NY" expo that will highlight New York-based companies working on advanced transportation technologies and energy efficiency; the Waterbury Region Convention and Visitors Bureau, which is organizing a weekend community festival in conjunction with the Tour de Sol display there; and Texaco Ovonic Battery Co., a joint venture between Texaco and Ovonic Battery Co., will display its advanced nickel metal hydride (NiMH) batteries -- the enabling technology for electric and hybrid-electric vehicles.

Other sponsors this year include: DaimlerChrysler, Ford Th!nk Mobility, the Electric Vehicle Association of the Americas, EOTC/Mass Highway, the New York Power Authority, KeySpan Energy Delivery, National Grid and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Ensco Inc. is the official scoring sponsor, and AutomotiveWire, a division of Business Wire, is the official newswire service of the Tour de Sol.

The complete schedule of events for the "Tour de Sol: The Great American Green Transportation Festival" includes: Waterbury, Conn. (May 19-21); Pittsfield, Mass. (May 22); Albany, N.Y. (May 23); Greenfield, Mass. (May 24); Worcester, Mass. (May 25); and a finish-line celebration in Boston (May 26).

All Tour de Sol festivals are free of charge and open to the general public. Further information is available on the Web at www.nesea.org or by calling NESEA at 413/774-6051.

Background
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. With headquarters in Greenfield, Mass., NESEA has worked successfully for more than a quarter century in the fields of transportation, building construction and renewable energy.

Note: A Photo is available at URL:
http://www.businesswire.com/cgi-bin/photo.cgi?pw.040501/bb8"

CONTACT: Northeast Sustainable Energy Association (NESEA)
Nancy Hazard, 413/774-6051, ext. 18
NHazard@nesea.org Web site: www.nesea.org or
Jack Groh, 401/732-1551 mailto:GrohPR@aol.com