For all their positives, electric vehicles (EVs) sometimes seem to be laboring under a few negative stereotypes: they are not practical; they have limited range; they can’t handle real-world road conditions; the charging infrastructure isn’t complete; they may be cute, but they sure ain’t tough.
A recently concluded trans-European road rally consisting entirely of EVs just did a lot to change to people’s ideas of the vehicles’ viability. The World Advance Vehicle Expedition (WAVE) launched in Paris on Sept. 11. Two weeks later, after crossing through France, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic, the caravan of 20 teams landed in Prague on Sept. 25.
Along for the ride were electric cars, vans, trikes, motorcycles – even two electric bikes. The teams covered between 100 and 150 miles per day and didn’t take the easy way V midway through the rally the expedition went up and over the 7,100 foot Swiss Alps summit known as Grimsel. To make things even more interesting, it was snowing. And even though many of the EVs were super-lightweight models and most were shod with low-resistance tires, everyone – even the bikes – made it to the summit.
By the end of the rally, WAVE participants had covered close to 2,000 miles. In addition, they were able to show off their EVs at events in schools, government agencies and tourist centers across Europe. Wave organizers have already announced that the caravan will take place in 2012.