[dropcap]E[/dropcap]lectric vehicle advocate Plug In Adventures has created a specially modified Nissan LEAF that will be the first all-electric car to enter the Mongol Rally*, driving 10,000 miles (16,000 km) from the UK to Mongolia in summer 2017.
Dubbed the LEAF AT-EV (All Terrain Electric Vehicle), 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.
The LEAF AT-EV has been fitted with Speedline SL2 Marmora wheels and Maxsport RB3 narrow tires for better performance on unsealed roads. Welded plates to the underside of the wishbones, braided brake lines, mudflaps and a 6mm aluminum 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 leading high performance automotive engineering company based in the UK.
“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,” said Chris Ramsey, founder of Plug In Adventures. “Not only will we face a dwindling number of EV chargers the farther east we go, the terrain also becomes more difficult to navigate. Using a Nissan LEAF for this was an obvious decision. I’m 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.”
Ramsey 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.
“Since we launched the LEAF in 2010, our customers have collectively driven over three billion kilometers, saving more than 500 million kilograms of CO2 emissions in the process,” said Gareth Dunsmore, director of Electric Vehicles, Nissan Europe. “Our ‘Electrify the World’ initiative connects stories from these people who are living an electric lifestyle. Few Nissan LEAF owners have been more vocal or accomplished as Plug In Adventures at demonstrating that electric vehicles can do so much more than the daily commute. We applaud this ambitious driving challenge and wish them a safe and enjoyable journey.”
About Plug In Adventures
Plug In Adventures was founded by Chris Ramsey in 2011 and was born from a combined passion for adventure and electric vehicles. Comprising a group of EV enthusiasts based in Scotland, its aim is to engage with the public in unique and different ways, championing all things EV-related.
Plug In Adventures is no stranger to putting electric cars through epic drives. In September 2015, they took just two days to finish the 1,652-mile journey from John O’Groats to Land’s End and back again in a Nissan LEAF 24kWh, using only publicly available and free EV charging points.
In April 2016 they completed the North Coast 500 in a LEAF 30kWh. The challenging 516-mile circuitous route around the Highlands of Scotland is pitched as “Scotland’s answer to Route 66.”
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.