Government of the Federated States of Micronesia

'Team Micronesia' sweeps 2001 Tour de Sol

PALIKIR, Pohnpei (FSM Information Service): June 4, 2001 - On May 26, 2001, first time entrant 'Team Micronesia' swept the awards for the 2001alternative energy vehicle race, Tour de Sol, with the amazing scooter aptly named the 'Climate Cooler'.

Tour de Sol is the largest and most widely diversified competition for cleaner vehicle technologies. The race began on May 19 in Waterbury - Connecticut and ended 8-grueling days later in Boston, Massachusetts.

Over 50 vehicles competed in eight different categories which were evaluated on performance, consumer acceptability and especially environmental impact.

'Team Micronesia' competed with 'Climate Cooler' in the Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) category, in the One-Person vehicle class, Prototype division. 'Climate Cooler' was one of the prototype vehicles manufactured by Personal Electric Transport (PET) of Honolulu, the other PET vehicles were driven by Team China and Team Globe.

PET's three competing vehicles were rewarded with the "Innovative" award- which covered all classes and categories of vehicles, based on teams "that introduce a creative, new technology or has a design that shows elegance in engineering."

In its category and class, 'Team Micronesia' won first place in the Prototype Division, and best Two-wheeler overall competitions.

'Team Micronesia' was awarded first place in the Autocross Event across all categories and classes. They also won four individual awards, among which was the coveted "Greenest Vehicle" given to the vehicle across all categories with the lowest raw greenhouse gas (GHG) emission.

Members of 'Team Micronesia' is a collection of students from the Federated States of Micronesia currently studying in the US and staff from the FSM Embassy in Washington, D.C. who provided support and assistance to the students.

Team members include: Chuuk - Vanessa Konno, Bradford Mori; Kosrae - Simpson Abraham; Pohnpei - Maraea Harris, Rocketchun Holden, Mary Ann La Torres, Wade Lawrence. Team Support: Yap - Nelson Marehalau; Enrico Calderon, Tanya Harris, Sebia Hawkins, Jojo, Phillip and Phillip.

Wade Lawrence, driver of the 'Climate Cooler' summed up the sentiment of the whole Team: "I am so proud of us, we were here at the beginning to launch this amazing new form of transportation. Thirty days from now we will look back and know that 'Team Micronesia' 2001 contributed the personal energy to demonstrate that this scooter can revolutionize in the developing world, and lower greenhouse gas emission that threaten our islands with global warming and sea [level] rise. We were here!"

After the exhausting and thrilling week, the Awards ceremony took place on City Hall Plaza in Boston's downtown center. The FSM Embassy's First Secretary Tanya Harris took the stage along with other speakers that included Norman Mineta, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Minister from the Chinese Embassy.

Harris said in her short remarks that the Tour de Sol is a "unique opportunity, and, our intent was to bring our culture to the people of the United States before it disappears under the sea. We wanted people to learn more about Micronesia and the issue of the global warming, the effects of which we are already beginning to see in our islands.

"We want our children in the world over to know that just as we care for our home, our islands, and our culture, we care about their future also. And, to let them know global warming is happening now, so we must all work together to help curb its disastrous effects."

The event of the week helped raise awareness among the hundreds of school children and adults that visited the Team's Exhibit booth on display the whole week at different festival sites.

Team Micronesia's Exhibit, entitled "What will Tomorrow Bring?" was also voted the best of all exhibits by judges factoring in various criteria. The exhibit was designed to focus on the human aspect of global warming, and evidence of the effects already taking place in the Pacific islands, such as dying of mangrove and coral reef, taro patch destructions, as well as the effects on the natural beauty of island nations.

'Team Micronesia' is jointly sponsored in this event by the Coolfont Foundation of Berkeley Springs, WVA, and Personal Electric Transport (PET) of Honolulu, HI.

Tour de Sol was sponsored by the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association (NESEA) - the leading U.S. association involved in promoting awareness, understanding and development of non-polluting, renewable energy technologies.

For further information on this release, please contact:

FSM Office of the President
Public Information: Press, Radio, Video
P.O Box 34
Palikir Station, Pohnpei, FM 96941
Tel.: (691) 320-2548/2092
Fax.: (691) 320-4356