The WAVE Trophy, a Gumball Rally for EVs

A 1,100-mile EV road trip through Europe, minus the models and the mischief.

The Gumball 3000 is a spectacle of supercars, money, models, parties, and private jets parading through various international capitals for a couple of weeks each year. If you could turn all of that excess down to about nil, you’d have the World Advanced Vehicle Expedition (WAVE) Trophy. Instead of the Gumball’s exotic caravan of Lambos and Ferraris, the WAVE is an all electric vehicle rally. This year’s trophy runs from June 10-18, traveling through 50 cities in three countries along an 1,100-mile route.

After twice circling the globe in solar-powered cars of his own design, Louis Palmer, a proclaimed “global environmental adventurer,” created the WAVE in 2011. The aim of the European jaunt is to raise awareness of alternative fuel, inspire better Continental charging options, and showcase the importance of electric vehicles in progressive measures, like last year’s Paris Climate Change agreement. Beyond the cavalcade, Palmer’s efforts include working with schools to teach students about the climate change issue.

The first rally in 2011 saw 25 electric cars whisper their way from Paris to Prague; last year’s event attracted 577 entries. An even larger crowd is anticipated in 2016.

The route starts in Bremerhaven, Germany, then drops due south, zigzagging along the German border before crossing over into the French Alsace region, past the Swiss Alps, Geneva, and Lausanne, concluding in Liestal, outside Basel, Switzerland.

Anyone with an electric car can take part. But the rules state that if your vehicle has a combustion engine “it must be switched off during the whole WAVE.” So for those with an Opel Ampera (the Euro Chevy Volt), the gas tank has to be empty at the start. Each day will feature at least 155 miles of driving, and charging stations will line the route every 60 miles to keep range anxiety at a minimum. If the idea promoting the future on a European vacation has you all charged up, check out WAVE’s official site and sign on.