SONOMA, Calif. (Sept. 23, 2003) – The 2003 Challenge Bibendum environmental vehicle competition rolled out of downtown Sonoma today with more than 100 vehicles from 14 manufacturers taking part.
The 2003 event, the fifth annual Challenge Bibendum, is the largest to date, according to Michelin North America Inc., organizer of the competition, which is taking place in the U.S. for the second time.
Group Michelin created Challenge Bibendum in 1998 to provide an unbiased forum to highlight developments in environmentally friendly vehicle technologies, focused on reducing atmospheric pollution and avoiding exhausting natural fossil fuel resources. The event also coincided with the 100th anniversary of the creation of Michelin's Bibendum character.
This year's challenge participants include 11 fuel-cell- and 18 hydrogen-powered vehicles and an even split between prototypes and production models. The event is open to other tire makes besides Michelin, the company said.
Participating vehicle makers include: Audi A.G., BMW A.G. DaimlerChrysler A.G., Freightliner WHAT, General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co., American Honda Motor Co., Hyundai Motor Co. Isuzu Truck, Nissan, Peugeot S.A., Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc., Volkswagen A.G., Volvo Car Corp., and Volvo Truck. Some of the most advanced vehicles in the world will be joined by more than 35 Learning Center technology displays, top industry speakers from Europe, China and the United States, as well as more than 1,000 attendees from 30 countries.
The challenge involves a series of tests – including emissions and performance tests — to demonstrate that the vehicles of the future can be clean, safe, reliable and fun to drive, Michelin said, followed by a 100-mile road rally through the Sonoma Valley and across the Golden Gate Bridge into San Francisco on Sept. 25. The performance tests measure acceleration, braking, slalom, drive-by noise and fuel efficiency.