Out of nowhere — listening to my favorite Danish stand-up comedian Jan Gintberg being interviewed in a cozy Sunday morning radio show — he said he was going to initiate a 24-hour electric “Le Mans” in Denmark. Come again? That’s right. Together with his friend, journalist Anders Agger, they formulated an old idea of his: In this western part of Denmark where the giant wind turbine company Vestas was established, and where the flat plains and endless coastlines are so unique, there should be an international race event featuring electric vehicles propelled only by the force of the west wind from the North Sea. They call the event WestWind24.
Jan Gintberg and Anders Agger pitched the idea to the municipal of Ringkøbing-Skjern, who liked it so much that they recently published a prospect called “WestWind24 — The world’s most talked about and innovative event for electric vehicles.” The introduction from the prospect, in the words of mayor Hans Østergaard, reads as follows:
This prospect describes the idea of WestWind24, situated in Ringkøbing-Skjern Municipality — the heartland of Danish entrepreneurial conquests into windpower. An event that attracts the leading stakeholders within the electromobility industry, i.e. manufacturers of EVs, batteries and charging technologies. A fantastic combination of EV race, expert symposium and people’s electromobility festival. Viewers will experience the technologies of tomorrow, just as the event will catapult electromobility up the global agenda; experts and laymen alike.
With Denmark lagging behind in the EV business in general, this idea has come at the latest possible hour to be a success. I’m surprised that nobody has thought about this before, but all things considered, West Jutland in Denmark — with beautiful stretches of the wild west coast of the country and the often harsh and cold winds from the never-resting North Sea — is the ideal location to make this a huge success. In fact, this area is also known by wind surfer world elites as “Cold Hawaii.”
Since there is no relevant footage of electric cars around Ringkøbing Fjord yet, here is a great video of the area, which illustrates the abundant wind potential:
More from the prospect that describes WestWind24 as an international annual recurring event:
In West Jutland there is a saying: “Nothing comes by itself, except the west wind.” The saying subtly articulates that one should challenge the status quo if one wants to promote the ideas that drive individuals and society up the ladder of development. That is exactly what an industrious engineer did in the town of Lem in the 1970s. On the backdrop of an international energy crisis, he established the wind energy adventure known today as Vestas.
Thomas Andersen, the Chief of Staff of the municipality of Ringkøbing-Skjern, told me that they allocated the means to hire a project manager for a period of 2 years, and it is now their hope to find a skilled and charismatic person to realize this event. On this notion, Mayor Hans Østergaard elaborates further:
We are thrilled to commit ourselves to an international large scale project dealing with renewable energy. This project corresponds extremely well with our Energy2020 strategy, which means that by 2020 our municipality will be 100 % self-sufficient with sustainable energy. We will spend the next two years investigating the feasibility of such a project – including making contacts with energy producers, battery developers as well as car manufacturing companies. It is vital for the success and preparation of the project that we are able to recruit the right project manager. We are confident that we will succeed. From our point of view, this project is a once in a lifetime opportunity for the right person.
The project manager position is open for application via Mercuri Urval until November 30, 2018.
The route is proposed to be about 105 km (65 miles), and in my view that is the perfect distance to test the balance between battery capacity carried in a vehicle and the charging capacity. Which is better, a huge battery, or a small battery that can charge fast? Or maybe even battery swap? My depicted route below is in no way accurate, but just serves to show the location of the proposed event.
Considering my own failed attempt to electrify an old classic recently, this might motivate many creative tinkerers to build fun and fascinating electric vehicles alongside the factory teams. The guys at world-record electric drag racers True Cousins would be a treat at this occasion! What a fantastic event this could be. I will keep you posted when all this gets closer to reality. Finally, Denmark will have a chance of being a real voice in the new world of electric mobility.