Marcelo da Luz, the dreamer behind the Xof1 solar-powered car has broken numerous world records, driven his car in the Arctic Circle, across the ice-road and more. But he can’t drive it in his province of Ontario. It’s something that he’s working to change by raising awareness. This past week, he dragged the vehicle 99 miles, from Ontario to Niagara over 12 days.
“I want to take on the greatest challenge in a solar car,” Luz said. He’s done alright so far. Luz has driven the photovoltaic-powered Xof1 car across most of Canada and the western coast of the U.S., tallying a running total of 22,436.3 miles, more than double the previous world record for a solar-powered car.
The car can go from zero to 53 mph in six seconds and tops out at 75 mph, according to Luz.
But he can’t drive it across his own province of Ontario. “There was one incident in 2004 and following the accident, they stopped offering permits for [solar-powered cars],” Luz said. A University of Toronto student died in the accident.
Prior to the accident, there were at least six solar-powered cars in Canada that were in the American Solar Challenge, according to Luz.
“Last time, there wasn’t a single Canadian car in the North American Solar Car Challenge. The biggest loser is Ontario itself,” he said. “It’s an incredible learning experience. The rules and regulations stifle further development. Hopefully with all we have done, we’ll get the government to change its policies a little bit.”
With the distance record firmly under his belt, Luz is the most likely advocate to bring solar-powered cars back to the province. After all, he’s driven the vehicle across the ice road, made famous on the show "Ice Road Truckers," the Top of the World Highway, and over 3,500 kilometers of gravel roads.
Among other adventure, he’s been stopped by the police under suspicion of being an extra terrestrial.
“I drove around Alaska, someone called the police about a UFO,” he said.
“Going to the Arctic is challenging. There’s only one road. We crossed the continental divide three times,” he said. “It made for an interesting adventure to say the least. The landscape is breathtaking. It’s one of the most beautiful places I’ve seen.”
The latest adventure, dragging the vehicle through conditions that included rain, sleet and snow, was met with positive reactions.
“There were 150 kids in the rain waiting for the solar car. People were cheering and intrigued,” Luz said. The trip may have had its intended effect. “Yesterday, I learned that the minister of transportation wants to meet with me.”
All images courtesy of Marcelo da Luz.