Alan Soule of Sebastopol, Calif., is one of 11 other electric vehicle teams who are raising awareness of the capabilities of electric cars as part of the “80eDays” challenge.
The epic 15,534 mile-long journey will take them through 20 countries and three continents over 80 days. They departed from Barcelona and are scheduled to return and drive together through the Arco de Triunfo in Barcelona on September 4.
The event has been designed to show the electric cars like the Model S can be a sustainable means of transportation. It will also show the car’s capability of covering the spectrum of geographic terrain – from the Alps to the Gobi desert – while making it to another charging station.
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Soule will have a rotating crew of five co-drivers who will meet him and his Model S at various places along the route. The 12 teams participating in 80eDays are from around the globe. Besides the U.S. team, other countries represented include two Swiss and two German teams, and one team each from China, Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Austria.
Soule has been an fascinated with alternative fuels and electric vehicles for several years. “I had a car that ran on propane back in the ’70s, and then when General Motors came out with the EV1, I leased one of those, and that was in 1999,” he said.
He bought a Tesla Roadster after it was introduced in 2008. In 2012, Soule took a trip down Route 66 in his Roadster, and later that year bought a Model S. “From all the research that I’ve done, I’m almost positive it’s the first electric vehicle to drive Route 66,” he said.
During one of his trips, Soule met a man from Spain, Rafael de Mestre, who was intent on driving his Roadster around the world in 80 days. The two kept in touch. When de Mestre said he would be part of the “80eDay” adventure this year, Soule decided he wanted to join in the challenge.
Soule has put a lot of work into preparing for the 80 day road trip. Among other chores, he and his fellow drivers have had to obtain visas from China, Kazakhstan, and Russia.
Soule and his team also have to make sure they bring all the charging adapters they need for the trip. Charging equipment varies widely from country to country.
Soule has had to do a lot of research on the best and safest routes to take.
“I originally wanted to go through Turkey because I like Turkey, but there are problems there,” Soule said. “And I’ve been told that Belarus has a lot of gangs. And the southeastern portion of Ukraine is where the Russians are trying to make a stronghold. But if you go up through Latvia, that’s an extra 600 miles, and we don’t want to do that, so we’re going to take a chance and go through northern Ukraine and see what happens.”