Electric Explorer African Challenge: the first EV expedition ever across Africa

Contemporary electric vehicles boast a driving range of about 250 kilometers. This is enough to use a car in urban traffic for up to a week or to travel from Cape Town to Swellendam free from range anxiety.

Image Supplied by Nissan South Africa

In the advanced version, vehicles such as Nissan LEAF make it possible to cover the distance between the UK and Mongolia. In the highly advanced version, an attempt can be made to cross Africa, as planned by Polish travellers Arkady Fiedler and Albert Wójtowicz.

The Electric Explorer African Challenge 2018, the first electric vehicle expedition ever across Africa, commenced at the end of last week.The famous Polish traveler Arkady Paweł Fiedler has taken the wheel, accompanied by Albert Wójtowicz, a photographer and cameraman. The main hero of their unique expedition is the Nissan LEAF. The vehicle is not modified in any way; it is exactly the same as the car you can buy from a showroom.

Travelling across Africa is probably the hardest test for any vehicle, not only an EV. Poor roads, limited charging infrastructure and dramatically diverse weather conditions – from equatorial storms to the scorching heat of the Sahara – these are just a few challenges that we’ll have to face during the expedition. We’re optimistic anyway. As part of the tests, I’ve already travelled over 4,000 kilometres in Poland in a Nissan LEAF, and I’m positively surprised by the driving range offered,” said Arkady Paweł Fiedler.

The expedition started in Cape Town last week and will lead to Europe, along Western Africa, via South Africa, Namibia, Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo, Congo, Gabon, Cameroon, Nigeria, Benin, Burkina Faso, Mali, Senegal, Gambia, Mauritania and Morocco, and finally across western Europe to Poland.

The Nissan LEAF is the most popular electric vehicle in the world. The first generation of the model was launched on the market as early as 8 years ago, and Nissan EV drivers have already done more than 3 billion zero-emission kilometres in total. The design tested by hundreds of thousands of drivers can be trusted without hesitation, which I believe will be best proven by the Electric Explorer African Challenge 2018,” adds Dorota Pajączkowska, Nissan PR Manager Poland.

Apart from being the first ever electric vehicle journey across the African continent, the expedition also aims to build awareness of electric mobility and new, cleaner technologies among the public in Africa, Poland, and the world at large. It is also important to show that the way of perceiving the world and human choices, such as the means of transport, have a great impact on our environment.

Care of the environment, home, family starts with us, with our subjective decisions. The journey is also to prove that often something apparently impossible to do can be achieved given appropriate attitude and determination.”

Owing to the huge challenge of looking for appropriate electric sockets to fill the battery with electricity, which is increasingly less of a problem in Europe year on year, we’ll have to rely on help from people we meet along the way. Without support from Africans, the expedition may fail,” recaps Fiedler.

Expedition participants:

  • Arkady Paweł Fiedler – originator and organiser of the expedition, and driver of the expedition vehicle. Grandson of the outstanding writer and traveller Arkady Fiedler. Passionate for automotive expeditions, producer of travel films, photographer. Originator and organiser of the PoDrodze (On the Way) film-and-travel project. 2009 – Along the Polish Borders in Maluch, 2014 – Across Africa in Maluch (project nominated for the National Geographic TRAVELERYS Award), 2016 – Across Asia in Maluch.

  • Albert Wójtowicz – architect by profession, photographer and cameraman by avocation, responsible for video and photo records of the expedition. Photographer of the film and travel project OnTheWay – Across Africa In Maluch 2014 and Across Asia in Maluch 2016.

  • Nissan LEAF – the world’s most popular electric vehicle, with more than 300,000 cars manufactured so far. The generation now widely available for sale, powered by a 30 kWh battery, offers a range of up to 250 kilometres (NEDC). September 2017 saw a new release of the model to be launched in Europe in the first half of 2018.

To follow Arkady’s journey, click on the following social media links:

About Nissan Motor Co., Ltd.

Nissan is a global full-line vehicle manufacturer that sells more than 60 models under the Nissan, Infiniti and Datsun brands. In fiscal year 2016, the company sold 5.63 million vehicles globally, generating revenue of 11.72 trillion yen. Nissan engineers, manufactures and markets the world's best-selling all-electric vehicle in history, the Nissan LEAF. Nissan’s global headquarters in Yokohama, Japan, manages operations in six regions: Asia & Oceania; Africa, Middle East & India; China; Europe; Latin America; and North America. Nissan has a global workforce of 247,500 and has been partnered with French manufacturer Renault since 1999. In 2016, Nissan acquired a 34% stake in Mitsubishi Motors. Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi is today the world’s largest automotive partnership, with combined annual sales of almost 10 million vehicles.

For more information about our products, services and commitment to sustainable mobility, visit nissan-global.com. You can also follow us on FacebookInstagramTwitter and LinkedIn and see all our latest videos on YouTube.

About Nissan in South Africa

Nissan South Africa is the operational hub for Regional Business Unit South, serving Nissan's key South Africa market and 45 other countries in Sub Saharan Africa, including Angola, Ghana, Kenya and Nigeria as well as the key Southern African markets of Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho and Swaziland. In South Africa, the company offers a range of 24 vehicles under the Nissan, Infiniti and Datsun brands, including the popular locally-produced Nissan light commercial vehicles - the NP200 half ton pickup and NP300 one-ton Hardbody - produced at the company's Rosslyn plant, north west of Pretoria. Nissan made history locally in 2013 with the introduction of Africa’s first electric vehicle, Nissan's flagship Nissan LEAF. As well as boasting zero emissions leadership, Nissan is also a leader in the crossover segment. Among its product offerings are the Nissan Qashqai and X-Trail, as well as Juke. The Datsun brand has re-established Nissan in the entry-level market where the tailor-made Datsun GO is breaking new ground in the ‘riser’ market segment.  Infiniti continues to make a mark in the luxury segment. Nissan is one of the top five automotive companies in South Africa.For more information visit our website at http://www.nissan.co.za

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