Electric-only Leaf to take on 16 000km Mongol rally

  • ‘Fuelling points’ will be battery chargers
  • Adventure crew to take on 16 000km drive
  • Trans-Asia rally, hoping for 250km at a time
ELECTRIFYING PERFORMANCE: Yes, it's a Nissan Leaf. Yes, it's a battery car, and yes, it's on a 16 000km rally: Image: Plug-In Adventures / Nissan UK
ELECTRIFYING PERFORMANCE: Yes, it’s a Nissan Leaf. Yes, it’s a battery car and, yes, it’s on a 16 000km rally: Image: Plug-In Adventures / Nissan UK

LONDON, England – Electric vehicle advocate Plug-In Adventures has created a modified Nissan Leaf to be the first all-electric car to enter and, it’s hoped, complete the Mongol Rally.

That means 16 000km from the UK to Mongolia in July 2017.

The car, dubbed the Leaf All Terrain Electric Vehicle (AT-EV for short) is based on a standard 30kWh Nissan Leaf Acenta which has a possible range of 250km on a charge.

ELECTRIFYING PERFORMANCE: Yes, it's a Nissan Leaf. Yes, it's a battery car, and yes, it's on a 16 000km rally: Image: Plug-In Adventures / Nissan UK
SUPERLIGHTS ON THE ROOF: It’s a battery car heading out for a 16 000km rally. Image: Plug-In Adventures / Nissan UK

Key modifications have been made to better equip the car once it reaches remote parts of the journey and it has Speedline SL2 Marmora wheel rims and Maxsport RB3 narrow tyres for better performance on unsealed roads.

EXTRA LIGHTS INCLUDED

Protection from rough terrain comes with welded underbody plates, braided brake lines, mud flaps and a six 6mm-thick aluminium sump guard.

A modified roof rack will offer external storage and carry a Lazer Triple-R 16 diode light bar to produce 16 400 lumens of supplementary low-voltage forward lighting across remote areas.

As the Mongol Rally isn’t a timed race the entrants’ vehicles usually provide long-distance comfort so the Leaf’s cabin mods focused on reducing weight while increasing storage space.

The driver and front passenger area is standard  apart from the addition of rubber mats. The rear seats – that’s 32kg – have been removed and a fire extinguisher and medical kit installed.

READ MORE Nissan features on Carman’s Corner

The modifications were done by RML Group, a leading UK high-performance automotive engineering company and Chris Ramsey, founder of Plug-In Adventures, told The Corner in a media release: “The Mongol Rally is our most challenging electric vehicle drive yet but it’s one we’ve been planning for a number of years.

ELECTRIFYING PERFORMANCE: Yes, it's a Nissan Leaf. Yes, it's a battery car, and yes, it's on a 16 000km rally: Image: Plug-In Adventures / Nissan UK
ONE-OF-A-KIND NISSAN LEAF AT/EV: Underneath the badging is a pretty standard Nissan Leaf Acenta, back seats removed and a fire-extinguisher installed. AT-EV? All-Terrain-Electric Vehicle.  Image: Plug-In Adventures / Nissan UK

“Not only will we face a dwindling number of EV chargers the farther east we go but the terrain will become more difficult to navigate so a Nissan Leaf was an obvious decision. I’m familiar with the car; it’s always been reliable 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.

“However this journey will be about the travel experience, not reaching the destination quickly. I can’t wait to get on the road and introduce more people to the advantages of electric vehicles, whatever country they’re in.”

ENCOURAGING AN ‘ELECTRIC LIFESTYLE’

Ramsey plans to make regular stops to promote the benefits of running an all-electric vehicle. He’ll also be using the What3Words platform to log the locations of some of the uncharted charging network so that future EV drivers crossing the region can benefit from accurate locations.”

Gareth Dunsmore, Nissan Europe’s director of electric vehicles, said: “Our ‘Electrify the World’ initiative connects stories from people 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.”

ELECTRIFYING PERFORMANCE: Yes, it's a Nissan Leaf. Yes, it's a battery car, and yes, it's on a 16 000km rally: Image: Plug-In Adventures / Nissan UK
REFLECTING PERFORMANCE: The special Nissan Leaf at speed, off-road. Its adventure crew hopes to complete the 16 000km 2017 Mongol Rally starting in July.  Image: Plug-In Adventures / Nissan UK

About Plug-In Adventures

Plug-In Adventures, based in Scotland, was founded by Chris Ramsey in 2011 through his passion for adventure and electric vehicles. Its aim is to engage with the public in unique and different ways, championing all things EV-related.

In September 2015 one of their cars took only two days to complete the 2643km round trip from John O’Groats (extreme north-east Scotland) to Land’s End (extreme south-west England) in a Nissan Leaf 24kWh, using only public and free EV charging points.

The 2017 Mongol Rally will start on Sunday July 16.

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