First EV expedition across Africa begins

by Autocar Pro News Desk , 22 Feb 2018

The Electric Explorer African Challenge 2018, the first-ever electric vehicle expedition across Africa, has begun. Behind the wheel of a previous-generation Nissan Leaf is renowned Polish traveler Arkady Paweł Fiedler, accompanied by photographer Albert Wójtowicz.

"Traveling across Africa is probably the hardest test for any vehicle, not only an EV," said Fiedler. "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. 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."

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," said Dorota Pajączkowska, Nissan PR manager Poland. "The first generation of the model was launched on the market as early as eight years ago, and Nissan EV drivers have already done more than three 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."

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's 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," said Fiedler. "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."