Pierce Hoover and his 13 year old son Nash have recently begun a cross-country journey dubbed “The Eco Tour” in a custom- built, human-electric hybrid vehicle that will bring them from New York to Oregon using the same amount of energy as a single light bulb each day.
I had a chance to meet the father-son team at the start of their adventure in a crowded park in the heart of New York City. Despite the strange shape of the vehicle which looks like a combination bike and miniature car, it generated barely a glance from jaded New Yorkers who were going about their business on a blistering hot day in June.
The vehicle requires that Pierce and Nash travel light so in addition to a few necessities they are taking along in the “trunk” we’ve donated a Sony® NEX-5, our smallest and lightest interchangeable lens digital camera for them to document their trip. And while even a novice can figure out how to use this camera, it turns out that Pierce is an adept amateur photographer so I imagine the pictures taken during the trip will be spectacular.
Besides the size and weight, it’s also a good choice for this trip because of its sensor size which is 13 times that of a typical point-and-shoot sensor and allows for better picture taking in low light situations and better resolution. And while the camera has several different lenses, the Hoovers will only be bringing one additional lens in order to minimize their belongings.
So what makes this vehicle so energy efficient? It is equipped with a 100-watt motor fueled by a combination of battery power and kinetic energy through pedaling. It has a top speed of about 25 miles per hour, and achieves an energy efficiency equivalent of 1,000 miles per gallon. (That’s a relief given the price of gas these days!) The duo will be peddling hard to travel around 60 miles per day. They’ll also be stopping along the way to check out landmarks and spread their conservation message to local communities.
The Eco Tour is sponsored by GE and Popular Science magazine, which will share Hoover’s chronicle of the trip and all of the photos taken at www.popsci.com/ecotour. You can also follow them on Twitter™ at twitter.com/popsciecotour.
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