PARIS Ė After eight months, two French engineers completed today (Sept. 24) the first world tour with a standard electric car, a 25,000 km-odyssey (about 15,500 miles) across 17 countries.
The purpose of the Electric Odyssey was to promote electric mobility to the public at large and to turn people's skepticism into acceptance. "If we can do a world tour in a standard electric car, you can use it for your daily rides," declared crew members Antonin Guy and Xavier Degon.
The two globe-trotters left the French city of Strasbourg on Feb. 11 2012 aboard a C-Zero, a Citroen-branded Mitsubishi iMiEV that utilizes high energy density lithium-ion batteries.
The C-Zero has a 90-mile autonomy. The complete charge of the Lithium-ion battery is possible in 6 hours using a classic 220V electric outlet. When using a quick charge station (50kW under 400V), 80 percent of the battery can be charged in 30 minutes.
Guy and Degon said that the apparent strain of stopping approximately every 60 miles (100 kms) to charge the car was in fact an opportunity to meet up with the inhabitants of the 17 countries crossed as each day several charging points had to be found, which in the end meant 300 charging points and as many encounters.
The duo said they had a good surprise in Japan. The country is indeed equipped with quick plug-in stations, 20 minutes instead of six hours in average. However, they said they faced the greatest difficulties in the U.S. where it would take 14 hours to recharge the car.
Electric Odyssey trajectory
At the time of the project launch, the estimated total cost of the world tour was between 250 euros ($325) and 500 euros ($650) of electricity, 5 to 7 times cheaper than the same trip using gasoline, engineers said.------------------------
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