80 Day Race has launched its global competition for zero emission vehicles at the Reform Club, London, in presence of Robert Llewellyn, United Kingdom’s premier electric car specialist.

Starting in April 2016, the first edition of a race around the world will challenge teams to join the competition between eight of world’s most exciting locations without using a single drop of fossil fuel. The competing teams will choose their own routes and means of transport. All land-, water- and air vehicles are allowed as long as it runs on renewable resources and does not contain a combustion engine.

The event is inspired by Jules Verne’s book ‘Around the world in 80 days’, betting that new means of transportation make it possible to achieve this challenge. At that time, in 1873, steam powered vehicles were about to replace horses. Today we are facing another tipping point in history with the first mass market electric vehicles being available to substitute traditional means of transportation.

The teams will start in Western Europe and will be heading east to complete the first leg. While discussions with cities are on-going, the preferable route will include stopovers in the Middle East, India and China before the North Pacific Ocean will be crossed to arrive at the west coast of the United States. The teams race through a variety of landscapes towards South America for their final stop before heading back to Europe. From there, a short leg – which provides terrific live broadcasting possibilities – will complete the epic 40,000-kilometre journey.

In addition, all eight hosting cities will enjoy a combination of competitive challenges for the teams and entertaining elements in a two-day programme focussed on various target audiences.

Frank Manders, CEO of 80 Day Race: “When promoting sustainable mobility it is important to capture the hearts and minds of the public. A legendary race, a test of man and machine, has proven over time to be an excellent method to inspire people. We go back to the pioneering spirit of the early day adventurers who showed the world what can be done with new mobility solutions, paving the road for a sustainable future.

“The first team is actually developing the race vehicles as we speak and we hope to formally announce the team soon”, he adds.

The launching event in the Reform Club in London was possible thanks to the help of e-mobility NSR, the Province of Noord Holland and the Coast to Coast e-mobility programme.

During its start-up phase, 80 Day Race has already been well received internationally by policy makers, potential teams, candidate cities and potential sponsors; all inspired by the story of this heroic journey. In addition, 80 Day Race can count on its growing amount of passionate ambassadors embracing the organisers’ key values to promote sustainable mobility:

Tim Coronel, aspiring electric Dakar Rally driver: “As a race car driver I hear people saying that racing is bad for the environment. But it is sustainable actually, because technical innovations are being implemented in cars all over the world. And sustainability is a little bit of, what can I say, it needs to be sexier! It needs to grow fast and I think that’s the future. That’s why I love 80 Day Race: it’s the big adventure Jules Verne meant.”

Jan Lammers, former Formula 1 racer and Le Mans winner: “What I particularly like about the world aspect of 80 Day Race is that you have an opportunity of involving so many different countries and so many different companies that all have a similar message. And good competition is great. You not only share your passion, but also your knowledge. The ideal scenario for me is, of course, to be a participant, albeit for a multinational or a car manufacturer who would like to enter.”

Robert Llewellyn, actor, comedian, writer and UK’s premier e-mobility specialist: “One of the biggest obstacles people who’ve never driven them assume electric cars have is ‘range.’ While it’s obvious a battery can’t take you as far as a tank full of fossil fuel, long experience with electric vehicles has shown me that all is required is a slightly different attitude. When people see I have driven 38,000 miles in my car they start to re-consider. When people hear that a group of people have driven around the world in 80 days, I firmly believe they will re-consider a lot more. The 80 Day Race is a wonderful way of communicating to the world that electric cars are here, they are not a fad and they are at present the most rapidly developing sector in the car industry.”

Louis Palmer, sustainability pioneer and organiser of the WAVE: “Wherever I travelled, wherever I’ve been, I’ve seen people talking about environmental issues and about global warming. I know we need solutions here. To add sportive elements makes it really exciting, so people want to see it and want to know who is going to be the winner. We have to do as much as possible to promote clean cars in order that people all over the world know that this is our future. That’s why I support 80 Day Race.”

Claudio von Planta, award winning video producer: “The 80 Day Race will inevitably encourage more engineers to push the boundaries of inspiring new technologies that will be more powerful, more sustainable and less polluting than the old fashioned over 100 year old combustion engine. It’s a brilliant idea to promote the latest EV technologies on a regular basis with a global racing event. The 80 Day Race will be the perfect opportunity to capture the attention of mass audiences world-wide and boost the nascent EV revolution.”

Maarten Steinbuch, professor at the Eindhoven University of Technology: “I became ambassador of 80 Day Race because I strongly support the idea that sustainability can be fun. Racing sustainable cars is the best proof you can get. Sustainability is also a worldwide challenge. Hence, 80 Day Race can really help the automotive industry to push forward the idea of making global sustainability fun. It’s my ambitions to enter at least one, but maybe more Dutch teams where knowledge institutes and innovation industry will bring out the best in each other.”

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