Nissan and Plug In Adventures have created a specially modified Leaf 30kWh, which will be the first EV to enter the Mongol Rally. Plug In Adventures founder Chris Ramsey will aim to complete the 10,000 mile trip from the UK to Mongolia in the summer.
The new Leaf AT-EV (All Terrain Electric Vehicle) is based on a standard Leah 30kWh, but has a number of changes made to it to make life simpler in the more remote parts of the trip once out of Europe.
Chunky off-road tyres on narrow wheels will give more grip on unsurfaced roads, while underbody protection plates have been added to protect the battery, suspension, brake lines, and electric motor from rocks.
A special roof rack has been fitted for external storage, which also has an LED light bar across the front for bright but low-voltage lighting.
The Mongol Rally isn’t a timed race but instead is a huge test of endurance. As such, the modifications inside have focused on reducing weight and increasing storage space. The front part of the cabin remains unchanged apart from the addition of some easy-clean rubber floor mats, but the rear seats and belts have been removed to save 32kg. A fire extinguisher and first aid kit have been added though.
Chris Ramsey, founder of Plug In Adventures, 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!”
Gareth Dunsmore, director of Electric Vehicles, Nissan Europe, said: “Since we launched the Leaf in 2010, our customers have collectively driven over three billion kilometres, saving more than 500 million kilograms of CO2 emissions in the process. 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.”
The car has been entered by Plug In Adventures, and has no works backing from Nissan. The adventure is the culmination of past challenges undertaken by Chris, with a Lands End to John O’Groats run completed in 2015, and driving the length of the North West 500 in 2016 – both in Nissan Leafs.