The Solectria Sunrise EV
Boston to New York on One Charge in 1997
Editor's notes: The following news release is reproduced here for its historical interest. Please don't attempt to contact Solectria, author Karl Thidemann, or any of the other principals for more information. In 2005, Solectria was absorbed by Azure Dynamics. Azure abandoned the Sunrise project. In 2012, Azure declared bankruptcy and was liquidated.

In part because of patent encumbrance of NiMH batteries, EV-size modules are effectively unavailable to anyone, including EV hobbyists.

(larger photo)

For more information on the Solectria Sunrise, including specifications, see Wikipedia.

For immediate release: October 23, 1997
Contact: Karl E. Thidemann, 508 658-2231
Visit our web site at
Spectacular EV Run Demonstrates Parity
Solectria Sunrise™: From Boston to New York on One Charge (Wilmington, MA)

Leading U.S. electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer Solectria Corporation announced today that its prototype Solectria Sunrise™ all-composite electric sedan successfully completed a trip from Boston to New York City, at normal highway speeds, on one charge of its state of the art nickel metal hydride (NiMH) batteries produced by Ovonic Battery Co., Inc., the originator of this battery technology.

The Northeast Alternative Vehicle Consortium ("NAVC") served as lead technical sponsor for this event, which was sponsored by the Metropolitan Section of the Society of Automotive Engineers ("SAE") and by the Spectrum magazine of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers ("IEEE"). Coordination assistance was provided by the New York Academy of Sciences. Ovonic is a subsidiary of Energy Conversion Devices, Inc. (Nasdaq National Market: ENER).

"The Sunrise™ has repeatedly proven its capability as a long-range, fully equipped EV, providing a driving experience and performance comparable to any conventionally-fueled four-passenger sedan on the market," observed Solectria CEO and co-founder James Worden, who drove the vehicle during its historic Northeast corridor run. He continued, "Through this event, we hope to identify other industrial partners who can bring additional production and manufacturing expertise to the Sunrise™ program."

Commenting on this historic achievement, Robert C. Stempel, chairman of Energy Conversion Devices, Inc., former chairman of General Motors Corporation, and chair of Solectria's Advisory Board, stated, "Demonstrations of this kind show the enormous strides made in the last few years in electric vehicle and EV battery development. Solectria is to be commended for capturing the public imagination and helping to drive the entire EV industry forward." Speaking at the New York Academy of Sciences, Dr. Victor Wouk noted, "We organized this project to show that EVs need not be limited in range because of the batteries."

Major funding for development of technology used in the Sunrise™ has been provided by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency ("DARPA") and the National Institute of Science and Technology ("NIST") through the NAVC, and by the Boston Edison Company. Other public and private partners participating in the Sunrise™ effort include TPI, Inc., Design Evolution 4, Inc., Advanced Product Development, Pepin Associates, Inc., Black Emerald Group, IBIS Associates, Thermal Wave Imaging, Inc., and the University of Massachusetts, Lowell. Ovonic provided the batteries used for this event.

Independent evaluation by the California Air Resources Board earlier this year found the Sunrise™ to be the most efficient 4-passenger electric sedan ever tested, results credited to its aerodynamic design, extremely efficient Solectria drive system, and lightweight all-composite construction. Data analysis performed by the Argonne National Laboratory determined that during an EV race in 1996, the Sunrise™ achieved an efficiency of approximately 90 equivalent miles per gallon using Ovonic NiMH batteries. Furthermore, as evidenced through crash testing, the Sunrise™ may also be one of the safest passenger vehicles ever produced - gas or electric.

Solectria Corporation is a leading international developer of electric vehicles and EV technology. Electric drive systems developed by Solectria today power electric sedans, pickup trucks, delivery vans, transit buses, and solar cars throughout the US and around the world. Solectria electric vehicles, widely considered to be among the finest EVs on the road, are now on the road in 38 states and eleven countries. Over 1000 EVs worldwide rely on Solectria components.