Renowned Polish explorer Arkady Fiedler, who in February attempted the first ever Electric Vehicle (EV) expedition across Africa is now in Nigeria. Using the first generation Nissan LEAF, the explorer began his trip in South Africa, Cape Town, through West Africa.
The expedition chosen vehicle, the first generation Nissan LEAF is powered by a 30kwh battery with a range of 250 kilometres. Travelling with renowned Photographer Albert Wojtowcicz, the vehicle has covered over 8,000 kilometres, in a period of two months.
Addressing local media at the Stallion NMN showroom in Lagos, Fiedler said, apart from being the first ever electric vehicle expedition across the African continent, the trip aims to build awareness of electric mobility and new cleaner technologies in Africa, Poland and the world at large. The voyage, according to him, also seeks to change peoples’ perception of the world and human choices with particular emphasis on the impact of transport on the environment, Fiedler said.
He said, “Caring for our environment, homes and families starts with us.”
He also said that the journey is proof that something apparently impossible can be achieved with the appropriate attitude and determination. Besides being the world’s first 100-per cent electric, zero-emission car designed for the mass market, its advanced powertrain provides a totally new driving experience, with smooth, responsive acceleration with stable handling and quietness. The first generation Nissan LEAF was named Green Car of the Year in 2011. Also reiterating that the initiative was conceived over time, Arkady said the expedition was entirely his idea.
“I chose to drive in my own electric Nissan LEAF. This vehicle was not modified in any way to facilitate the expedition. The car is the standard specification you will find in many European cities.
“If I can convince someone in Europe that I embarked on a long-haul trip by crossing this massive African continent with an electric vehicle, then it is possible more people will buy a car like this,” he envisioned.
Fiedler, however, decried the inadequacy of infrastructure such as charging facilities in the course of the journey, which he said is the only limitation to the attainment of a complete transition to EVs in Africa.
“While it is rather seamless to get electric sockets to fill the battery in Europe, we have to rely on people to assist us in charging the car battery without which the expedition wouldn’t have been successful,” Fiedler said.
“Travelling across Africa is probably the hardest test for any vehicle – poor roads, limited charging infrastructure and dramatically diverse weather conditions. Equatorial storms to the scorching heat of the Sahara, are just a few of the challenges we had to contend with in this journey.”
He was however thrilled by the level of awareness in Africa, saying EVs aren’t entirely alien to most people in Africa. “Majority of the people wanted to know why the car was silent, and doesn’t use oil or water or emit Co2, just as several others asked how further the car could go after one full charge.”
Stallion NMN head of sales and marketing Amit Sharma, who received the duo of Arkady and Albert in Lagos said: “We are proud of this initiative, being the first ever electric vehicle expedition across Africa, and as you all are aware, the Nissan tagline – Innovation that Excites has always kept the brand going – scoring so many FIRSTs in its entire outings.”
“Without mincing words, mobility is going electric and Africa can’t be an exception. We must therefore move along with the entire world as EVs becomes the mobility of the future. We at Stallion NMN cherish this milestone,” Sharma remarked.
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