Plug-in Adventures have completed the Mongol Rally, travelling 8,000 miles across 13 countries – all in a Nissan Leaf.
Husband and wife team Chris and Julie Ramsey reached the finish line in Ulan-Ude, Russia, on Saturday 9th September, having left the UK on 16th July.
Charging 111 times en route, Plug-In Adventure’s Leaf travelled through the couple’s home nation of Scotland to Goodwood, where their rally started in earnest.
After leaving England, the couple’s travels took in France, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and then Russia. The Mongol Rally has stopped finishing in Mongolia, and now ends just north of the border with Russia, primarily to save entrants money.
To return, the Ramsey’s plan to drive back through Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Germany, Netherlands, England, and home to Scotland.
Of the 111 charges, 26 were rapid, 15 fast, and the remainder charged using a domestic plug socket in whichever country they were in at the time. All told, the cost of electricity has been estimated at less than £100.
The Leaf was slightly modified to account for the more rugged roads available the further east travelled, and dubbed the AT-EV – All-Terrain Electric Vehicle. However, nothing was done to the motor or batteries to provide more power or driving range, meaning the epic distance was covered in a ‘standard’ Leaf 30kWh.
Different wheels were fitted for better traction on unsealed roads, and skid plates were fitted on the under-body to protect components such as the suspension, brake lines, and motor from poor surfaces. The rear seats were removed to reduce weight and provide more storage, as a 16-LED light bar was added for off-piste night time driving, and a fire extinguisher and medi kit were carried.
There is no time limit for the Mongol Rally, with the event set up as a charity drive with no set routes, and the intention to do the trip in very cheap, small, sub-1.0 litre cars. The Leaf is the first time an EV has completed the event, which offers no support once participants get underway.
Plug-in Adventures’ participation highlights both the event’s green focus, and also proves that EVs can cover vast distances across huge areas of rural countryside.