Off-road Nissan Leaf Sets Record at Mongol Rally

It's the first all-electric vehicle to complete the 8,000 mile rally. 

Nissan

Its name may sound like something straight out of Star Wars, but the Nissan AT-EV (All Terrain Electric Vehicle) is very real, and has just broken a record by completing the famous Mongol Rally. According to Nissan USA, the 8,000-mile journey makes Plug In Adventures' the first team to enter and complete the rally in an electric car.

Plug In Adventures' modified 2016 Nissan LEAF proves that even clean air vehicles can get down and dirty, all without using a drop of fuel. Chris and Julie Ramsey are the dynamic duo behind the AT-EV. They drove the rally LEAF from a starting point at Goodwood on July 16, through 13 countries and crossing the finish line at the Siberian border in Ulan-Ude, Russia on Sept. 9.

The Ramseys spent £100 (about $132) in total filling up their EV at charging stations, plugging in the LEAF 111 times. The vehicle averaged 95 miles between charges, and at one point managed to get to 115 before a fill-up. 

Thanks to elaborate charging networks in some European countries, the AT-EV drivers had no problem finding stations on the first half of the journey, and used fast-charging ports to fill up the car in 30 minutes. However, the Ramseys faced challenges in Eastern Europe, where they had to charge their car at hotels, fire stations and car dealerships to keep the LEAF running. 

Along the way, Plug In Adventures participated in events like the Astana International Exposition in Kazakhstan to promote alternative energy, where the AT-EV was briefly put on display. The rally route also took the team on some of the best driving roads on earth, including the Transfăgărășan Highway in Romania.

The couple says that their rally car was as reliable despite its abuse. It suffered a cracked wheel, punctured tire and a lost mudflap. 

Plug In Adventures' success at the Mongol rally is a testament to the improving range and reliability of EVs, and a story skeptics should consider before continuing to speak out against zero-emissions cars.