If everything goes according to plan, in four weeks’ time Transport Evolved — or at least some of us — will be on our way to the World Advanced Vehicle Expedition. Officially starting in Stuttgart on May 31, 2014, the WAVE will cover some 1800 Km in ten days, passing over several alpine mountain passes, through beautiful valleys and past serene lakes.
Each and every one of the teams taking part — as well as those covering the event like Transport Evolved — will be driving in a 100 per cent electric vehicle. No gasoline. No tailpipe. No emissions.
In the run up to the event, we’ve been manically preparing ourselves for life on the road as one of the WAVE’s official media teams. Challenged with the process of writing a daily online report from the event, as well as reporting on the individual stories of those taking part, we’ll be responsible for producing the WAVE’s online english-language content and proving that, with a little bit of forethought and planning, anything is possible.
Along the way, we’ll also be witnessing first hand the education and outreach projects the WAVE participants carry out every year, visiting towns and villages along the route to promote clean electric mobility as well as the numerous school assemblies and demonstrations it will carry out to the next-generation of would-be EV owners.
More on that — and the details of our daily postings on www.wavetrophy.com and www.transportevolved.com later — but for now we thought we’d tell you a little bit about the preparation we’re going through to get ready.
Our car is the easy part. Owned by Nikki and her wife Kate, Hiro the Nissan LEAF is now three years old, has more than 53,500 miles on the clock, and eleven out of its original twelve capacity bars. Aside from a check to make sure that all the lights are working and the tyres are in good condition, there’s really nothing needed for our LEAF to tackle the event, or the more than 1500 miles of driving to and from the event we’ll have to do.
If anything, Hiro’s only preparation for the WAVE is a daily 80 mile commute to and from Cardiff with Kate, rapid charging on average once a day for a little boost to help him on the way back home. Between now and then, the only thing Hiro will get is a nice wash and perhaps a body wrap in Transport Evolved Colours.
But the rest of the crew? Both Adam and Nikki are hard at work, planning a route, checking charging database after charging database, and making up a slew of charging adaptors for the trip.
You see, Transport Evolved will pass through France, Belgium, Germany, Austria and Swizerland between leaving the UK and returning two weeks later. They’ll need numerous adaptor plugs to help them charge from the various different power outlets they’ll find in each country — not to mention the equipment they’ll be taking with them to keep our readers up to date with the latest news from the event.
So far, the German, French and ‘Commando’ plugs are all on order. The Swiss one — a three-pin plug which can take either 10 amps or 16 amps of current at 250 depending on the plug design — is eluding us at the current time.
Then there’s all the things required by law that we carry or fit to our car in the various countries we’re passing through. Things like safety warning triangles, disposable breathalysers, a full set of spare light bulbs and reflective safety vests. Oh, and the obligatory GB country decal and headlight beam converter decals. The former warns other road users that we’re in a right-hand drive car from the UK and may not have the same visibility as other road users, while the latter will prevent our right-hand-drive car from dazzling oncoming traffic on the left-hand-drive continent.
Onto domestic arrangements. With a different stopover point each night, the WAVE really is an expedition, so it’s down to each competing team and each support team to bring their own bedding with them for the trip. Or if you’d prefer, sleeping bags.
While each team will be housed in a variety of different hostels, hotels and host homes during the event, Transport Evolved will need somewhere to stay while travelling to and from the event. In keeping with the spirit of the event, that means digging out our camping gear, camping stove, and of course, the trusty camping stoves.
We’ll tell you more about the route later, but it’s our plan to remain as flexible as possible on our outward and return from the WAVE. Save for the tight-schedule of the Eurostar crossing to and from mainland Europe, we’ll be driving until we find somewhere sensible to stay the night, then pitching up and bedding down.
Since we announced our participation in the WAVE a few weeks ago, we’ve heard from several EV owners questioning our motives. “Why are you going so far in an electric car?” they ask. “Isn’t this all a bit silly? Why are you making a long-distance trip in an electric vehicle?”
Our response so far is simple. We’re not making an electric vehicle trip. We’re off on an adventure… which just happens to be in an electric car.
Our interest in WAVE is the stories and experiences of those taking part. We’re there to chronicle the many different walks of life and plug-in tales there are to be shared. We could fly over, meet up with the tour at various points, and report it that way.
But somehow, we think we’d miss out on something of the essence of the event. And we don’t want to do that.
You can follow more from Transport Evolved and WAVE in the coming weeks by heading to www.transportevolved.com or www.wavetrophy.com. And while we haven’t talked about it here, you can see more about the route we’re proposing to take here.
Transport Evolved is an official media partner of Wavetrophy. View the original post here.
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