Chris Ramsey, founder of Plug In Adventures, will be driving specially modified Nissan LEAF that will be the first all-electric car to enter the Mongol Rally.
Dubbed the LEAF AT-EV (All Terrain Electric Vehicle), the vehicle will be driving 10,000 miles / 16,000 km from the UK to Mongolia in summer 2017.
The vehicle is based on a standard 30kWh Nissan LEAF Acenta, which offers a range of up to 155 miles / 250 km on a single charge. Key modifications have been made to better equip the car once it reaches the more remote parts of the journey.
Chris Ramsey, who won a GreenFleet EV Champion Award in 2016, said: “The Mongol Rally is our most challenging electric vehicle drive to date, but it’s one we’ve been planning for a number of years. Not only will we face a dwindling number of EV chargers the further east we go, the terrain also becomes more difficult to navigate.
“Using a Nissan LEAF for this was an obvious decision though. I’m very familiar with the car, it’s always been reliable and dependable for me, and it has the largest network of rapid charging options in Europe. As it will also accept a 240v Commando connection even in the remote areas when my fast-charge options are gone, I can still charge the battery and keep moving. This journey is about the travel experience though, not reaching the destination in a fast time. I can’t wait to get out on the road and introduce more people to the advantages of electric vehicles, whatever country they’re from!”
The LEAF AT-EV has been fitted with Speedline SL2 Marmora wheels and Maxsport RB3 narrow tyres, for better performance on unsealed roads. Welded plates to the underside of the wishbones, braided brake lines, mudflaps and a 6mm aluminium sump guard add further protection from rough terrain.
A modified roof rack provides external storage and is fitted with a Lazer Triple-R 16 LED light bar to produce 16,400 lumens of supplementary low-voltage forward lighting during the remotest parts of the trip.
As the Mongol Rally isn’t a timed race, the entrants’ vehicles ideally provide long distance comfort. The interior modifications to the LEAF AT-EV have been focused on reducing weight and providing more storage space. The driver and front passenger area is unmodified apart from the addition of rubber floor mats. The rear row of seats and rear seatbelts have been completely removed, contributing to a 32kg weight loss. A Fire Extinguisher and Medi Kit have also been integrated into the boot space.
The modifications to the LEAF AT-EV were carried out by RML Group, a high performance automotive engineering company based in the UK.
Chris plans to make regular stops along the way to promote the benefits of running an all-electric vehicle to residents of the countries he’s passing through. He’ll also be using the What3Words platform to log the locations of some of the uncharted charging network, so that future EV drivers traversing the region can benefit from accurate charging point locations.
The Mongol Rally is the culmination of this series of EV adventures that Chris created for himself as training – all building to this significant and challenging journey.
Top Gear meanwhile has test driven the vehicle on an off-road safari facility in deepest Sussex. Read the review at www.topgear.com/car-news/adventures/tg-drives-rally-prepped-nissan-leaf#1
Chris is funding the trip himself - support him at www.crowdfunder.co.uk/pluginadventures
Follow @Pluginadventure on Twitter or visit www.facebook.com/pluginadventures to keep up with the journey.