Adventurers enter electric car in 10,000 mile rally

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Chris and Julie Ramsay will raise funds for WWF Scotland as they tackle the Mongol Rally. 

14th July 2017 by Gavin Stuart 0 Comments

An Aberdeenshire couple are set to make history as the first people to enter an electric car in a 10,000 mile rally through some of the world’s harshest landscapes.

Chris and Julie Ramsay will set off on Sunday from Goodwood Racecourse to Ulan-Ude in Siberia alongside 340 petrol and diesel cars taking part in this year’s Mongol Rally.

The adventure will see them raise funds for WWF Scotland while also dispelling myths about electric vehicles (EVs).

Chris is a passionate advocate of EVs and founder of the group Plug in Adventures, which champions the vehicles.

This is a really exciting challenge and I’m hoping it will dispel many of the myths about electric vehicles

He has already driven EVs from John O’Groats to Land’s End, London to Monte Carlo and along Scotland’s North Coast 500, but the Mongol Rally is his biggest challenge yet.

“This is a really exciting challenge and I’m hoping it will dispel many of the myths about electric vehicles and their efficiency," he said.

“I’m passionate about raising awareness of EVs and the important role they are playing now, and will do in the future, in reducing our carbon emissions.   

“I’m also delighted to be raising funds for WWF Scotland, a charity I support for the work it does in providing solutions to environmental problems both at home and abroad.”

The rally, which has no set route, will see Chris and Julie traverse the mountains, desert and steppe of Europe and Central Asia before reaching Siberia.

Along the way they plan to make stops in Kazakhstan and Mongolia to do voluntary work.

Sam Gardner, acting director of WWF Scotland, said the charity was delighted to be working with the couple.

He added: “EVs are the way forward and we’re calling on the Scottish Government to clean up the transport sector by phasing out the sale of new fossil fuel cars by 2030 to reduce emissions, clean up air pollution and improve the nation’s health.

“We wish Chris and Julie the best of luck and thank them for choosing to raise funds for us so we can continue our work in Scotland.” 

A great motoring adventure

Adventurers enter electric car in 10,000 mile rally

Now in its 13th year, the Mongol Rally describes itself as “the greatest motoring adventure on the planet”.

With no set route, no backup and no support teams, contestants face a gruelling 10,000 mile drive across Europe and Asia en route to Ulan Ude, Siberia.

The rally has three simple rules: vehicles must be “farcically small” with a maximum engine size of 1000cc; drivers are completely on their own; and all entrants must raise at least £1000 for charity.

Organisers The Adventurists describe the experience as “getting lost, using your long neglected wits, raising shedloads of cash for charity and scraping into the finish line with your vehicle in tatters and a wild grin smeared across your grubby face”.

Drivers set off from starting points in the UK, France, Spain and Italy before converging on the Czech capital of Prague.

From there, teams head east. The most popular routes go through Russia or Turkey, but others lead south via Iran, Turkmenistan and Afghanistan. In some cases teams have even gone as far north as the Arctic Circle.

Finally, after weeks of driving on some of the world’s worst roads, ralliers pass through Mongolia and into Siberia – and the finish line.  

Breakdowns are common - of the 300-400 teams who enter the rally each year, only around 70% make it to the end. Dealing with corrupt officials, robberies and crashes is also par for the course for most of the drivers who take part.

Tragically, in 2010, 24-year-old Glaswegian Alan Fowler was killed when his car crashed in Iran.

Despite the dangers, the event continues to grow in size and popularity every year.

Fabio Diez, who completed the rally in 2013, explains its appeal: “You will get addicted to adventures and freedom, bad things will turn in good things and you will find out what really matters.”