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An unprecedented journey of 12,500kms through ten countries has been achieved in 42 days by three Nissan LEAF electric vehicles using DBT CEV fast charging technology.

The feat is thought to be the longest journey achieved by these electric vehicles in such a condensed period of time, something only possible through the use of fast charging technology. It was also a clear demonstration that there are simply no barriers anymore for electric vehicle use for the average driver.

Heralding the final leg of the 2012 Oranje Trophy, which supports Dutch sporting heroes competing in this summer’s series of European sporting events, three Nissan LEAFs crossed London City’s Tower Bridge last Thursday to a rapturous reception by roadside spectators.

The Oranje Trophy journey started on 14 June in Amsterdam and took the travelling motorcade of 30 vehicles (comprising cars, vans, trucks and motorbikes) through Poland and the Ukraine, where they stopped to support the Netherland’s footballers playing in Euro 2012.

They then drove up through Russia, all the way to the North Cape in Finland – after which the crews headed back through Norway, Sweden and Denmark to finish in London in time for the opening of the Holland Heineken House in Alexandra Palace, ahead of the Olympic Games.

Along the journey, the Nissan LEAFs were replenished by electric charging company DBT CEV’s unique DC Quick Charging technology, which allows compatible electric vehicles to recharge up to 80percent of their batteries in less than 30 minutes. This enabled the competing electric vehicles to travel distances of 120-130kms per charge and, at times, up to 600kms per day, putting them on an equal footing with fellow competitors driving regular internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles.

The achievement is all the more important for the United Kingdom’s workforce. DBT CEV’s fast chargers are due to be manufactured in Sunderland, following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding earlier this year between Nissan and Gateshead College for the development of a Zero Emission Centre for Excellence.

Alexandre Borgoltz, Development Manager for DBT CEV, commented: “We are extremely proud to have contributed to this success. On a technical level, this achievement clearly demonstrates that electric vehicles (EVs) are just as suitable for longer journeys as their conventional counterparts. For the Oranje Trophy, a portable, truck-mounted system (1) was used to demonstrate that – with the correct charging infrastructure in place – EVs can meet many of our motoring requirements.

“We have shown that the technology exists and is already being deployed. I believe we must now continue to educate the wider population about EVs, as these are not tomorrow’s cars – these are the vehicles of today. We are convinced that the best advertising for EVs is to get people test drives. People love driving electric vehicles – they just don’t know it yet! This was proved by one of the Nissan LEAF drivers on the Trophy, who is a real petrolhead and is now a complete convert!”

2012 Oranje Trophy organiser, Ralph van den Houten was particularly keen to include electric vehicles in this year’s event, citing the importance of running them alongside ICE vehicles. But, he acknowledges, it was only possible with the arrival of quick-charging technology.

“We stayed at a campsite in Brighton the other night and two workers from the Nissan factory in Sunderland found us. I told them that this was the car that they are going to build, starting next year. They found it very interesting to hear we had come all this way and when we showed them the map on the hood, they were like ‘you must be kidding, that’s crazy!’

“But, thanks to DBT CEV’s quick-charging technology, we are here. Otherwise, after 42 days we’d still be somewhere in Russia, I think!”

(1) DBT CEV used a truck-mounted system to demonstrate the importance of a fast-charging network. To ensure that environmental considerations were fully taken into account for the Oranje Trophy, the truck and its generators were powered by EcoPar’s GTL fuel.

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