Photo voltaic powered electrical van rolls by way of Kelowna

It’s one thing to be snowed in while driving through Alaska, but it’s a whole different ball game to be stuck for a week while waiting for your van to charge.

However, that’s exactly the type of metaphorical “bump in the road” that must be endured while traveling in a solar-powered van.

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<p>Why travel in a solar-powered van?</p>
<p>Well, it’s the official vehicle of Route Del Sol, a project headed by Australians Joel Hayes and Keegan Taccori that will see the solar-powered van drive from the Arctic Circle to Argentina.</p>
<p>Yes, you read that correctly.</p>
<p>The two recently made a pit stop in Kelowna while en route to South America where they took some time to speak with KelownaNow.</p>
<p>“Well I’ve spent seasons up at Big White and Joel has at Sun Peaks so the Okanagan feels like home to us in some ways,” said Taccori.</p>
<p>“When we first arrived in Kelowna, we were charging and a gentleman who had worked in the oil and gas industry for decades came up and was awe-struck with what we were doing and was very interested in the electric vehicle. That’s really what we’re trying to accomplish, offering information and encouraging conversations about electric vehicles.”</p>
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The Route Del Sol van takes roughly 10 hours for a full charge when on the grid and about 20 hours in good conditions for a charge from solar power.

It will be used as an example of what can be accomplished with solar power and electricity, as the two plan to visit several schools throughout the states and Mexico during the journey.

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“My background is in journalism and Joel’s background is in science and engineering,” explained Taccori.

“Using our experience in teaching and lecturing, we want to help people understand how solar power works and the fact that the oil and gas industry is unsustainable. We’re not the enemy of that industry either, there needs to be communication between renewable energy and that industry to move forward in finding long term solutions to transportation issues.”

The van’s pit stop in Kelowna was brief, but the journey is long, with the expectation being the van will reach Argentina in roughly two years.

“Our main rule is using renewable energy the entire way down, we will have to rely on fossil fuels to cross the Darién Gap between Panama and South America, but we plan to offset that use in some way,” said Taccori.

“And to get there physically and mentally better than we started. As well as be fluent in Spanish.”

To learn more about Route De Sol and to contact the team, click here.

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