Monday 13 February 2023

Rally - Going Electric

When rallying was first invented, it was all about adventure. Unlike to-day’s more popular and spectacular but somewhat shorter stage rallies the original events were invariably long, required some serious navigational skills using paper maps and stop watches and occasionally long stints behind the wheel for the driver. And all the while having to manage a regulated time schedule which included some speed tests. It was these speed tests which eventually became modern rallying as we know it.

More recently, there has been a growing trend to get back to the ‘good old days’. The bi-annual Roger Albert Clark Rally is perhaps the best known example although there has also been a growth in classic car touring events and assemblies. These offer a more sedate pace, relaxed time schedules, easier navigational tests while some have speed trials and autotests thrown in for a bit of added excitement.

Taking this concept to another extreme is Aberdeen couple Chris and Julie Ramsey who are planning to drive an electric car some 17,000 miles from the Magnetic North to the South Pole through 14 countries. They have been planning this trip for four years and reckon it will take ten months to complete when they set out next month.

They do have some experience though, having previously successfully completed the 17,000km, 56 day Mongol Rally in a Nissan Leaf. Prior to that Chris established a new Guinness World Record at Grampian Transport Museum for travelling 180.75 miles in 12 hours on an electric bike!

This time the adventurous couple have chosen the Nissan Ariyah SUV as a more suitable machine for the task. However, the car and its electric drivetrain remain pretty much standard with the only serious modification being the fitment of 39 inch wheels to the car’s raised suspension under widened wheel arches.

Of course, much of the pre-event route planning has centred around locations for charging up the vehicle’s battery pack, but they also have a plan for those remote locations which civilisation hasn’t yet reached.

They have developed a towable trailer which includes a packable, lightweight wind turbine and solar panels that will take advantage of high winds and long daylight hours to provide charge for the EV’s battery when Chris and Julie stop to rest.

On a personal note, if Scot.Gov finds out about this alternative source of ‘free’ energy who knows what they might do. Introduce a law making the purchase of such a trailer compulsory with every new electric car sold – and then tax it?

Good luck to them both though, eh?

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