Electric vehicle enthusiasts join various races, challenges, and events all over the world. They are great ways to publicize electric vehicles (EVs). Ever since Poland joined the rEVolution, there have been many such efforts, big and small — including Tesla Shuttle and CleanTechnica‘s attempt at a single-charge driving distance record (which we couldn’t set).
This year seems to be a special one, as one of Poland’s top travelers decided to go on some EV trips — and believe me, we have great exploratory traditions. You may have heard about this extraordinary man. His name is Aleksander Doba. He’s 71 years young. And he has crossed the Atlantic in a kayak … three times!
Doba was voted National Geographic Adventurer of the Year in 2015. He deserves all praise and respect. But, no, he’s not going to cross the Atlantic in an electric kayak. 🙂 He serves as an example of our great traditions of crossing borders and doing the impossible. I’ll share three stories with you and will encourage you to follow them as they unfold. But let’s have a look at a few other EV adventurers who deserve a nod and a follow.
The first EV hero is Arkady P. Fiedler, grandson of a famous Polish explorer, Arkady Fiedler, and a huge fan of cars. He particularly loves the so called “small Fiat” or Maluch, a small car that used be every Polish family’s dream in the ’70s and ’80s (I had one myself, “Our Red Ferrari” we called it). Arkady used a Maluch to cross continents and reach many horizons.
This time, again, he set off to travel across Africa from Cape Town to Europe … driving a Nissan LEAF. In particular, he’s using a 2017 LEAF with a 30kWh battery and 250 km range rating. The project is called Electric Explorer African Challenge. Before he left for Africa, he first did a mock Electric Explorer African Challenge in … East Poland. Similar conditions: no public infrastructure, vast uninhabited territories, and friendly locals. 🙂 I met Arkady at one of the conferences I was co-hosting shortly before he left in February, and I am using a few slides from his presentation where he shared with us his plans, challenges, and hopes. He is currently in Benin (at the time that I’m writing this). Below, you can see the route he has planned.
As mentioned above, the real challenge is infrastructure, and by infrastructure, Arkady means not only chargers, which he hopes to find, but even simple sockets, which may vary in form and availability. He spent a lot of time collecting information on socket types and electrical standards that he might expect to find. The best summary of what may lie ahead is probably the photo below:
It is an extraordinary trip. I encourage you to follow Arkady on Facebook and Twitter. Most posts are in both Polish and English. Arkady left Cape Town in February, but there is still a long way to go.
The next EV hero is another Polish traveler, Marek Kamiński. He’s a great personality, a talented businessman, and a keen explorer. Two of his most famous expeditions were to the North and South Pole on foot, which he did in one year with a young disabled man, Janek Mela. Janek became the youngest person to reach the North Pole.
If you have time, find more on Janek, as his story is ready to be turned into a film. It moves everybody regardless of age, sex, or nationality.
Anyway, Marek decided to test the limits of electric vehicles and has planned #NoTraceExpedition to go from Poland to Japan driving(… who will guess? …) a Nissan LEAF. He is about to set off in May this year and I am sure we are in for some incredible stories. Check out the route he has planned below:
Just like Arkady in Africa, it looks to me Marek will face serious infrastructure challenges and range anxiety will be redefined for him. We’re not talking Dutch cities or German motorways. We’re talking about Asian wilderness and huge uninhabited areas. We’re talking about wild animals and poor roads. We’re talking adventure! Every time you drive your EV and complain about poor infrastructure, think about Arkady and Marek — it will make you feel ashamed and if you have range anxiety, it will eventually disappear. 🙂
The name of the expedition, NoTraceExpedition, means much more than just driving an electric vehicle. It is also about making sure you don’t just exploit the Earth but use it in a sustainable way, including the water you drink, food you eat, and trash you produce — the only trace he wants to leave is his impact on people he reaches through his project. As Marek says, it takes courage to take care of the world — courage to invest in new technologies, to live differently, to change habits. There is a lot to come, so follow Marek Kamiński on Facebook , Twitter, or Traveler to learn more and support him through comments and sharing. When asked about the biggest threat to the success of the expedition, Marek said: people’s indifference. Let us not be indifferent, please.
And finally, our third EV hero, one you may already know, is Tomasz Gać, a famous Polish EV pioneer. Tomek is not a full-time traveler. He runs his own courier company, Quriers, and gets involved in various EV related projects. In addition, every year since 2016, he has tried to organize an EV trip on his own — and they seem to get longer and longer. Two years ago, it was driving through East Poland and Lithuania in, of course, a Nissan LEAF (24 kWh). Last year, Tomek traveled as far as Wales, again in a Nissan LEAF (30 kWh), doing over 4000 km on electricity. This year, the plan is bold and Tomek is aiming to go south to reach the Black Sea. He is going to visit Bulgaria, Albania, Croatia, and many other countries.
As Tomek is a co-founder of Tesla Shuttle (along with me and CleanTechnica Director Zach Shahan), he decided to leave his Nissan LEAF at home — or rather, at work, as the car does courier deliveries in Łódź — and take a Tesla Model S 85D instead. I will be interested to learn his impressions on how Tesla made the trip better/different/easier than the trip otherwise would have been (in, say, a BMW or Audi). Will he get the same level of attention Tesla cars still receive in Poland? Will the infrastructure live up to expectations?
We will learn all the answers here on CleanTechnica, which is the home website agreed to be a partner in the challenge and support Tomek in covering the whole trip.
Plenty of exciting EV action is happening in Poland, and Polish people are determined to catch up with the rest of the world in the rEVolution. I particularly enjoy reporting on these adventurers in light of dire coal/smog stories that normally hit Poland more frequently. It’s not all black, there is some light in the tunnel. And I can only hope local politicians start seeing further beyond the next elections.