A man is attempting to drive an electric van from Nairobi to Johannesburg to highlight the reliability of zero carbon vehicles under extreme conditions.
Adventurer and English teacher Xavier Chevrin set off on the UN-backed 4,800km trip at the end of last week, two years after driving from Shanghai to Paris – the longest ever journey made in an electric car.
Chevrin will spend a month and a half battling through the bush of Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana and South Africa in a souped-up version of a French electric postal van. The Citroen Berlingo has three batteries as opposed to the regular single issue, as well as raised suspension to cope with bumpy roads.
The modifications enable the van to cover 500km without recharging the battery, which takes seven hours from empty using a standard 240V socket. But the car has no back-up generator so Chevrin will be reliant on local electricity infrastructure to complete the journey.
The aim is demonstrate that electric cars are not only cheaper to run – the Shanghai-Paris trip cost less than $200 in electricity instead of $4,000 worth of diesel – but also better for the environment.
According to a forthcoming report by the UN’s Environment Programme (UNEP), the current fossil-fuel based transport system accounts for a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions and this figure is expected to rise to almost a third in the coming decades.
“We have been using combustion engines for over a century, but now it is a new revolution,” Chevrin said. “Within a few decades it will be logical for everyone to have an electric car as it fits with the philosophy of having to be careful how we use energy.
“We want to prove that electricity is an alternative energy source that can be used for transportation.”
Source = Business Green