At the time of writing, electric vehicles boast a driving range of about 250 kilometers. This is enough to use a car in urban traffic for up to a week or to travel from Cape Town to Swellendam free from range anxiety (which petrol drivers in Joburg known all about -especially the closer the calendar moves to payday). In fact, vehicles such as Nissan LEAF make it possible to cover the distance between the UK and Mongolia. Nope. That’s not enough of a challenge. Polish travellers Arkady Fiedler and Albert Wójtowicz are well on their way to Poland… from Cape Town.
The Electric Explorer African Challenge 2018, the first electric vehicle expedition ever across Africa, commenced on Valentine’s Day 2018. Arkady Paweł Fiedler has taken the wheel, accompanied by Albert Wójtowicz, a photographer and cameraman. The vehicle? The infamous Nissan LEAF, hot off the showroom floor, will take on the 14 009,4 Km journey.
Travelling across Africa is probably the hardest test for any vehicle, not only an EV. Poor roads, limited charging infrastructure and dramatically diverse weather conditions – from equatorial storms to the scorching heat of the Sahara – these are just a few challenges that we’ll have to face during the expedition. Regardless, the team is optimistic. As part of the tests, they have already travelled over 4,000 kilometres in Poland in a Nissan LEAF, and are surprised by the driving range offered.
The expedition started in Cape Town last week and will lead to Europe, along Western Africa, via South Africa, Namibia, Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo, Congo, Gabon, Cameroon, Nigeria, Benin, Burkina Faso, Mali, Senegal, Gambia, Mauritania and Morocco, and finally across western Europe to Poland.
Apart from being the first ever electric vehicle journey across the African continent, the expedition also aims to build awareness of electric mobility and new, cleaner technologies among the public in Africa, Poland, and the world at large. It is also important to show that the way of perceiving the world and human choices, such as the means of transport, have a great impact on our environment.
Follow the adventure on Instagram here.
By Shawn greyling