Father and Son to Cross Country on a Light Bulb's Worth of Energy

How far will a parent go to convince their child to stop leaving lights on around the house? For inventor and journalist Pierce Hoover, the answer is 4,000 miles. Hoover and his son embarked today on a cross-country adventure in a custom human-electric hybrid vehicle that will bring them from Virginia to Oregon on the energy of a single light bulb each day.

Their journey--called the Eco Tour-- is sponsored by GE and Popular Science magazine, which will host Hoover's chronicle of the trip at www.popsci.com/ecotour.

Hoover, a Brand Manager at publisher Bonnier Corporation, and his 13 year-old son, Nash, will spread the word that turning off unneeded lights and appliances can do more than shrink a household's electric bill--that every watt saved can help save the planet.

The duo hatched the idea for the Eco Tour after Hoover taught Nash a powerful lesson about energy waste. While struggling to persuade Nash to stop leaving lights on around the house, Hoover brought his son to a local gym, where exercise bikes measure energy output in watts--the same unit used to measure electricity. He asked Nash to pedal fast enough to generate the energy to power a 100-watt bulb. Nash soon discovered just how hard he had to work to power even simple household devices.

The experiment sparked an audacious idea, explained Hoover. "Nash and I wanted to demonstrate how much we could do with the energy we'd save by turning off one light, and together we set the goal of crossing the country on the power of one bulb per day."

Pierce and Nash, along with a team of engineers, designed and built an extraordinary human-electric hybrid vehicle with a 100-watt motor fueled by battery power and kinetic energy through pedaling.

With a top speed of 25 miles per hour, the vehicle achieves a staggering energy efficiency equivalent of 1,000 miles per gallon. Traveling 60 miles per day, the pair will stop in communities along the way to spread their conservation message.

"The Eco Tour is a fantastic example of technological ingenuity combined with personal conviction, and we're thrilled to bring our readers along for the journey," said Mark Jannot, Editor-in-Chief of Popular Science.

"GE applauds Pierce and Nash for reminding us all that the world's most efficient light bulb is the one that's turned off when not needed," said Brian Sroub, chief marketing officer, GE Lighting. "It's our hope that the Eco Tour's message encourages people across the country to learn about the virtues of readily available advanced lighting technologies such as incandescent halogen, compact fluorescent and LEDs."