ELECTRIC vehicle advocate Plug In Adventures has created a specially modified Nissan LEAF to take part in the world famous Mongol Rally.
Dubbed the LEAF AT-EV (All Terrain Electric Vehicle), the vehicle will travel 10,000 miles from the UK to Mongolia this summer.
The car is based on a standard 30kWh Nissan LEAF Acenta, which offers a range of up to 155 miles a single charge*. Key modifications have been made to better equip the car once it reaches the more remote parts of the journey.
The LEAF AT-EV has been fitted with Speedline SL2 Marmora wheels and Maxsport RB3 narrow tyres, for better performance on unsealed roads. Welded plates to the underside of the wishbones, braided brake lines, mudflaps and a 6mm aluminium sump guard add further protection from rough terrain.
A modified roof rack provides 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.
As the Mongol Rally isn’t a timed race, the entrants’ vehicles ideally provide long distance comfort. The interior modifications to the LEAF AT-EV have been focused on reducing weight and providing more storage space. The driver and front passenger area is unmodified apart from the addition of rubber floor mats. The rear row of seats and rear seatbelts have been completely removed, contributing to a 32kg weight loss. A Fire Extinguisher and Medi Kit have also been integrated into the boot space.
The modifications to the LEAF AT-EV were carried out by RML Group, a leading high performance automotive engineering company based in the UK.
Chris Ramsey, founder of Plug In Adventures, which has taken electric vehicles on several epic drives since forming in 2011, 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!”
Chris plans to make regular stops along the way to promote the benefits of running an all-electric vehicle to residents of the countries he’s passing through.
He’ll also be using the What3Words platform to log the locations of some of the uncharted charging network, so future EV drivers traversing the region can benefit from accurate charging point locations.
Gareth Dunsmore, director of Electric Vehicles, Nissan Europe, said: “Since we launched the LEAF in 2010, our customers have collectively driven over three billion kilometres, saving more than 500 million kilograms of CO2 emissions in the process**. Our Electrify the World initiative connects stories from these people who are living an electric lifestyle.
“Few Nissan LEAF owners have been more vocal or accomplished as Plug In Adventures at demonstrating that electric vehicles can do so much more than the daily commute. We applaud this ambitious driving challenge and wish them a safe and enjoyable journey.”
*NEDC (New European Driving Cycle) value
** Totals based on estimates from Nissan’s Global Data Center (GDC) as of March 2017. The total distance travelled and the amount of CO2 emissions saved by Nissan LEAFs globally is an assumption based on data gathered from Nissan LEAFs registered with NissanConnect EV, approximately 50% of total sales globally.