Disabled motor sport Marshal Steve Tarrant had a busy weekend, he was at Goodwood trying to set a new world record for electric cars: The furthest anyone has travelled in 24 hours on a mobility scooter. His electric vehicle of choice is the TGA Breeze S4 GT Mobility Scooter that boasts a top speed of 10mph (16km/h).
He choose the perfect weekend to try this feat as it followed on from a BBC reporter’s undertaking of a 230+ mile trip in a Nissan Leaf as part of a feature they are creating on electric cars. In a controversial decision the reporter even set off on her trip knowing that the first rapid charging station was likely to be unusable.
Tarrant will be driving on a 300 metre course that has been specially set up on one of the paddocks at Goodwood. He has take on this challenge in order to raise money for cancer charity MacMillan Cancer Support. This is no small feat, the Breeze S4 GT – if upgraded with the heavy duty battery – has a range of just 30 miles(45km).
This isn’t the first time that Tarrent has attempted this world record. In his last attempt he was able to cover 170 miles although this was never ratified as the track hadn’t been surveyed before the attempt. Since this, according to the Goodwood press release, the world record has been award to the US. Although, as of publication, the official Guinness Records site lists the record as being held by Jackie Weeden for travelling 154 miles (247.8 km). Tarrant is best this figure by travelling 200 miles.
Steve Tarrant said: “It’s fantastic to have such an historic location as Goodwood to make this record attempt. The course I’ll be using is a hard Tarmac surface, which will provide a consistent level of grip throughout the day and night and should put me in good shape to break the record. In theory, 215 miles is the maximum distance possible on a 10mph vehicle, so 200 is quite ambitious. Reliability permitting, however, I’d say I’m in good shape.”
Tarrant, from Poole, Dorset, lost his leg in an accident while marshalling for motor sport 14 years ago but this hasn’t held him back. Since then he regularly marshals at some of the world’s best motor circuits including Goodwood where he is attempting his record breaking attempt.
If he achieves his 200 mile aim, he will come within 7 per cent of the theoretical maximum distance possible on a mobility scooter within 24 hours with the current technology. The 215 mile cap has been arrived at by factoring in recharging rates and times plus range and speed of the vehicle.
While views on long distance electric vehicle trips are mixed – for an interesting discussion on this, see Transport Evolved 200 with EV-advocate Chelsea Sexton – this trip can very much be seen as ‘a bit of fun’. However, as a community do we need to be careful about using the right tools for the right job? It’s may be obvious that no one is ever going to need to drive 200 miles in 24 hours on a mobility scooter but that certainty starts to get blurry when we talk about a Nissan LEAF or Renault ZOE going 300 miles.
In the same way that a 60 – 90 mile electric car isn’t suitable for longer distance driving a Tesla Roadster isn’t suitable for taking a under 11’s football team to their match in the next town over.
Do you agree? Does the electric vehicle community need long distance trips? Let us know below in the comments:
Hat tip: @aatheus on Twitter.
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