BC2BC Electric Car Rally Cancelled: No Sponsors, Lack of Support Blamed

The 2014 BC2BC electric car road trip — which promised to be the largest road trip and gathering of electric vehicles in the world to date — has officially been cancelled, it was announced on Thursday.

This year's BC2BC rally has been cancelled due to a lack of support and sponsorship.

This year’s BC2BC rally has been cancelled due to a lack of support and sponsorship.

Due to leave Baja, California (BC) on August 7 and arrive in Vancouver, British Columbia (BC) on August 17, this year’s BC2BC rally would have been the third time the event had taken place. But in a post made on Facebook on Thursday night last week (via GreenCarReportsBC2BC rally organiser officially cancelled the event.

The cancellation, just three weeks before the event was due to start, will leave many who had hoped to take part disappointed. As event organiser Tony Williams explained in his post however, a lack of sponsorship combined with little support from the state of California and what appears to be disinterest in the event from Nissan and Tesla meant that there was no option by to call the 1,500 mile trip off.

When it came to funding of the BC2BC rally, Williams said that he’d been spending his own funds to keep the event planning on track. Despite initial interest in sponsoring the event however, he was unable to get any major sponsors to agree to support the event.

Last year's trophies for BC2BC participants (Photo: Tony Williams, BC2BC Rally)

Last year’s trophies for BC2BC participants (Photo: Tony Williams, BC2BC Rally, via Facebook)

“The costs are already significant just to get the event to this point, and without major sponsors like we had last year, that left only me to fund the events,” he wrote in the public post. 

Like last year’s successful 2013 BC2BC rally, Williams had planned for a whole series of events and displays along the route, including what had been billed as the largest gathering of electric vehicles in the world. Due to take place in California, the record attempt would have challenged the one set earlier this year in Stuttgart by the WAVE Trophy.

The world record attempt had been envisaged to coincide with promotion of the California West Coast Electric Highway, a series of charging stations planned to extend up I-5 from the Mexican border in the south to the Oregonian border in the north. Like the West Coast Electric Highway running through Oregon and Washington, the California West Coast Electric Highway would have provided electric car owners a way to travel the length of California without range anxiety. 

Yet a change in staff at the Californian Governor’s office has reportedly left the project floundering.

“I just don’t see anything happening from California that would match what Oregon and Washington states have already done, and are expanding on,” Williams said.  “It seems we are beating a dead horse there.”

The BC2BC event this year wanted to challenge the electric car record set in Stuttgart earlier this year.

The BC2BC event this year wanted to challenge the electric car record set in Stuttgart earlier this year.

The final nail in the coffin at this year’s event however seems to be the lack of support the BC2BC organisation team received from automakers Nissan and Tesla. As stated by Williams, neither Nissan nor Tesla expressed an interest in the event, or in helping out with the logistics of charging.

“These two companies are leaders in the market, but in the third year of this event, we never got even the most basic support. Not a Tweet, not a Facebook post, not anything whatsoever, ever,” Williams wrote.

Moving forward, Williams said next year’s event — or any future BC2BC events — will only be considered if the rally has a sponsor from the outset, but here at Transport Evolved, we can’t help but wonder if the days of the long-distance EV rally are numbered.

That’s because the original need for longer-distance events — advocacy and adventure — are met in different ways today. Furthermore, most electric cars aren’t designed or sold to be long-distance vehicles.

When it comes to advocacy, long-distance trips used to be a way for EV advocates to increase the exposure ordinary members of the public had to electric cars. But all along the Pacific Coast where electric car adoption rates are already high, advocacy is being met in other ways, most noticeably by the high numbers of electric cars on the roads.

Are electric car road trips no-longer a challenge?

Are electric car road trips no-longer a challenge?

As for adventure? Part of the appeal for longer-distance trips has always been the challenge of pushing the car and its driver to the limits, using cunning and planning to charge wherever possible to make the destination. But when it’s possible to travel many hundreds of miles in an electric car thanks to charging networks like the Supercharger Highway and the West Coast Electric Highway, there’s no metaphorical mountain to climb. When something becomes easier to achieve, there’s less prestige in doing it.

Do you agree? Would you take part in a 1,500 mile road trip in an electric car? Do you think road trips are good for the image of electric cars? Should the BC2BC have received more official support from automakers and government? And why did no-one step up to sponsor it?

Leave your thoughts in the Comments below.

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