The Mongol Rally is an untimed 10,000 journey across Europe, Kazastan, Russia and through Mongolia arriving 6-8 weeks later in the Russian town of Udat-Ule. This year will see electric car advocates Plug In Adventures take their specially modified Nissan LEAF on the road trip of a life time.
This will be the first all-electric car to enter the Mongol Rally, setting off from Goodwood on 16th July, the LEAF AT-EV (All Terrain Electric Vehicle), is based on a standard 30kWh Nissan LEAF Acenta, which offers a range of up to 155 miles (NEDC).
Plug in Adventures is made up of husband and wife team Chris and Julie Ramsey who own two Nissan LEAF cars, one of which is their entrant into the rally. As regular travellers and a couple of 17 years they have little to worry about spending so long in a car together.
This isn’t the first electric car road-trip full-time adventurer Chris has undertaken. Having driven the North Coast 500 in a Nissan LEAF, completed a road trip from Aberdeen to Monte Carlo and back in a BMW i3 and tackled Lands End to John O’Groats not once but twice.
A small number of key modifications have been made to better equip the car once it reaches the more remote parts of the route. With Speedline SL2 Marmora wheels and Maxsport RB3 narrow tyres, for better performance on rougher roads. On our blast around the off-road course, the car felt grippy and even more nippy thanks to the removal of the rear seats to reduce weight by 32kg.
Removing them has resulted in some additional cabin noise as you clearly hear the stones and rocks hitting the belly of the car. Welded plates to the underside of the wishbones, braided brake lines, mudflaps and a 6mm aluminium sump guard have been added as further protect the EV from rough terrain.
The passenger compartment remains standard to provide maximum comfort for the driver and passenger during the epic journey. The LEAF remains as well equipped as a standard Nissan, just with a couple of extra safety items. In the rear, you will find and front a Fire Extinguisher and Medi Kit, just in case. Up top is modified roof rack for external storage and is fitted with a Lazer Triple-R 16 LED light bar to produce 16,400 lumens of supplementary low-voltage forward lighting during the remotest parts of the trip.
The Mongol Rally describes itself as the greatest motoring adventure on the planet. There’s no backup, no support and not even a set route. Just you, your car and your fellow adventurists. The organisers of the event are keen to point out the risks involved, requiring entrants to agree to 11 pages of terms and conditions, with an addition rally moto of If nothing goes wrong, everything has gone wrong. Even with this in mind, Chris is undeterred.
Chris Ramsey 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!”