Old Yellow Eco meets Brand New DesignWerk ZeroTracer 2010

On the way back from Brno, in July 2010, I took the 1991 Ecomobile to the top of the Sustenpass to meet Tobi Wülser and Frank Loacker of DesignWerk, aka Team ZeroTracer. They were there for a photoshoot shortly before they set off to participate in the all-electric ZeroRace, to ride around the world in 80 days. Tobi Wülser, who also designed the Monotracer shape, is far left; Frank Loacker is next to him in the hat. I could only stop there for 15 minutes before jumping back into the Eco and dashing down the mountain to Zurich to catch my plane back to London, leaving the Eco in the free airport motorcycle park, as arranged!
The ZeroTracer won the ZeroRace and there are several other photos of the machine in this folder, including one of the two Swiss lads and their Swiss machine draped in the Swiss flag, clutching their trophy: http://bikeweb.com/node/2130
Photo: Paul Blezard archive

Old Yellow Eco meets Brand New DesignWerk ZeroTracer 2010

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Where are they now? etc.

In many respects the Ecomobile/Monotracer/Racer did all the right things. Went for the "Ferrari" option, won international competitions, had an attractive, exclusive (very expensive) product built to a high quality - and of course leads the world in high performance electric vehicles (talking to you there Elon...)

But where are they now? Why do I not see them on the street? OK, this is provincial Bristol but we have Lamborghini's, Ferrari's and stuff. High-end criminals have to spend their money on something! Would I see them on TV, were I watch such a thing?

It would be informative and useful to other innovators in the electric vehicle business, if a journalist, well versed in the people and history and - obviously - up to speed on FFs generally, could write a brief history of the project. Not just for this site, I'm sure EMN would also be interested. But is there anyone qualified for this task?

Not just one project...

The thing is, it's complicated. Not just one project but actually three, or even four, depending on how you look at them.

A Saga even?

I can really resonate with the idea that it's a complicated story. Even as a rather detatched observer the twists and turns, ownership and name changes, are pretty baffling. I guess it's generally the case that industrial projects stand or fall on personal, political and economic issues rather than the actual product - certainly the case in both the Quasar and Voyager projects, regardless of the qualities or otherwise of the vehicles themselves.

But this makes these non-engineering factors very much part of the business of innovation. We must learn from all the mistakes made by our predecesors, not just the design flaws of the products. It's easy to describe the failings of the Quasar and Voyager projects in two words - "English management". The 'Eco projects' don't have that excuse. There's a different story there, although I wouldn't be surprised if money, personal ego and national pride are part of it...