September 18, 2016

11 teams have just gone around the world in 80 days in EVs in the 80edays rally organized by electric vehicle pioneer Rafael de Mestre.

The Tesla Model S was the most popular competitor with nine teams opting for the luxurious option. One took a Tesla Roadster, a DENZA also featured and one team took the left-field option and drove the world in a Modulo electric bus from Hungary.

At the moment this is a ragtag event with even scrappier origins. When a pair of drivers decided to go round the world in 2012 behind the wheel of a Citroen C-Zero, they were already one month into their journey when de Mestre heard about it and scrambled to turn it into a race. He set off in May, three months behind, in a Tesla Roadster.

He finished his odyssey in September and still won the impromptu race, despite a crash, visa issues and more hardships along the way. It says a lot about the poor charging point infrastructure at the time, as well as the range on the old school batteries, and how far the EV world has come in just four years.

On to bigger things

The Spaniard was determined to make the next event bigger and better. It’s still relatively small and 11 teams won’t have the Dakar organizers quaking in their boots just yet, but for a three-month event with such a ragtag start then this is a solid turnout. It’s only going to get bigger.

There was no doubting the supremacy of the Model S on this particular event, but the fact that every competitor got to the end tells its own story.

“The Tesla Model S demonstrated how far the EV industry has come from its initial days, while all the teams successfully reached the finish line in record time,” said a press release.

Despite the improvements in EV technology, this was still an almighty challenge that spanned more than 2500 miles and took in North America, Canada, Europe, the Middle East and China. In total the teams traveled through 20 countries on three continents for the race that started and finished in Barcelona, Spain.

You can see them in action on the rally’s Youtube channel.

They even planted trees

Although the competitors were on a tight schedule, they still managed to attend 40 events to publicize EV motoring to the masses and they even dropped into the Tesla factory. The team also planted trees at pre-set checkpoints to ensure the whole event, including the flight into Canada, was totally carbon neutral.

The organisers will now get to work on a much larger 2020 event. This is the kernel of a great idea and it’s a powerful way to prove that the infrastructure is already in place and the general population can switch to EVs without any cause for concern. If teams can power up their cars in the depths of China and Kazakhstan, then getting to work in California really shouldn’t present that much of a problem.

We’re looking forward to the next event and think it will have a lot more competitors. Now that the organizers have shown the potential, we wouldn’t be surprised to see major teams and even a works entry or two.

The 80edays is a seriously good shop window for EV manufacturers and a chance to prove that modern technology is reliable, dependable and that it won’t leave owners stranded by the side of the road. It’s also an epic event, a great story and a triumph of the human spirit.

We can’t wait to see what  happens next time and how long it actually takes the teams to get round the world with zero emissions electric power.

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